My name is Thomas Bryer, Professor of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida. Learn more about me here:
Scientists estimate that in order to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19 and return to normal life as quickly and safely as possible, we need at least 70% and up to 90% of the population to be immune through infection or vaccination. Immunity through infection is dangerous, and costly in money and lives. The better path is through vaccination.
However, we know there are individuals throughout society, across educational levels, income groups, and racial and ethnic divides, who have legitimate concerns about taking the vaccine. Some may be medically based; some may be religious based; some may be based on a fear given uncertainty of receiving an injection of unknown substance.
My students and I in the Capstone course of the Master of Public Administration program at UCF are taking up this challenge.
Normally, I would facilitate discussion of vaccine participation and the challenge of reaching herd immunity only in the comfort of my classroom. The times we are in now require a different approach.
So my students and I invite you to join in a series of public conversations about vaccine participation. On March 26, we will focus on learning about concerns across the society to getting the vaccine. On April 2, we focus brainstorming strategies to reach 70-90% participation given the concerns and rumors we identify in the first conversation, and on April 9, we focus the drawbacks, costs, and tradeoffs of any possible strategy identified. Together, my students and the diverse public, will craft recommendations to meet this moment.
All sessions are open to the public but require registration. All sessions will be recorded. These conversations are open to anyone throughout the United States and around the world who wish to learn, contribute, and engage. I will prepare a report following these conversations and will share publicly. As a class, we are not a government agency, but we encourage you to share your concerns with appropriate government authorities in addition to joining our conversation.
Our ability to return to normal life as quickly and safely as possible relies on the participation of all of us. I hope you will join our conversations. Register for one or all sessions. Contact me at email@example.com with questions.
Thomas Bryer, PhD