Legislation aims to raise awareness of COVID-19 vaccine

Misinformation and conspiracy theories have flooded social media

The vaccine is meaningless if not enough people get inoculated.
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The vaccine is meaningless if not enough people get inoculated.

As the first healthcare workers in Hudson County are vaccinated, social media has been flooded with conspiracy theories and other disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.

To combat disinformation, Rep. Albio Sires and other representatives introduced bipartisan legislation that would authorize a public advocacy campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccine participation and provide science-backed information.

Sires represents the 8th Congressional District of New Jersey, which encompasses much of Hudson County.

Facts not feelings

The bill provides necessary funds for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide grants to entities to launch public awareness campaigns no within 30 days after a vaccine is authorized.

“The swift development of a COVID-19 vaccine is a serious progression on our route to curbing the virus and getting back to our normal routines” said Sires. “Now that the vaccine is being administered, it is crucial that we encourage as many Americans as possible to receive one.”

According to a recent poll, more Americans have expressed their intent to receive the vaccine as more information becomes available, but around 40 percent say they still won’t get it.

“We must ensure that Americans have science-based, factual information on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” Sires said. “This bipartisan legislation will go a long way in funding states’ public awareness campaigns so that Americans have the information they need to receive the vaccine with confidence.”

The bill is a companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by a bipartisan group of senators, including Bob Menendez.

“Getting an approved, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is an important first step, but absolutely meaningless if enough people don’t get inoculated,” Menendez said. “We know the key to getting back to more of our routines will depend on high vaccination rates.”

He continued: “It’s critically important that folks have access to good, accurate information about the efficacy and safety of vaccines. Our bipartisan bill will help states fund public awareness campaigns to give Americans the answers they need and encourage them to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.