Health experts are calling for President Biden to create a new federal holiday to try to overcome "vaccine hesitancy" and bring the pandemic to an end. Experts—including Stanley Plotkin, who helped develop the rubella and rabies vaccines, say "National Vaccine Day" should be "a one-time federal holiday in 2021 to promote vaccine education, honor the health care workers and scientists who have toiled to help so many survive the pandemic, and remember those who died from it." They say the announcement of the holiday's date, in summer if it is safe enough, would "serve as the light at the end of the tunnel, simultaneously creating a national benchmark to complete widespread vaccination campaigns and a day of opportunity for science education, social restoration, and remembrance," they write at Stat News.
The experts note that between 70% and 90% of Americans will need to be vaccinated to end the pandemic—but 44% plan to wait to get vaccinated and 15% don't want to be vaccinated at all. The experts see the holiday, which would involve telethons and social media events "to educate the public on vaccines and public health" as well as live concerts and festivities, as a way to restore trust in public health institutions. "The US cannot fully celebrate as long as people around the world are dying from this vaccine-preventable disease," they write. "However, we can take stock, appreciate our nation’s progress, commemorate those we’ve lost, and strive to make a better world with wider vaccination in the future." Click for the full piece. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)