If you build it, will they come?
Identifying the missing pieces in the vaccine distribution puzzle

By Annabell Lee

As abruptly as states were forced to deal with the arrival of COVID-19 last spring, once again they find themselves scrambling to form a plan for rapid vaccine distribution.

According to ABC news , just seven of the 22 million vaccines in the US have been administered. What’s the hold-up?

ABC medical contributor Dr. Ryan Ribeira states that counties are struggling to find people willing to take the vaccine.

"A lot of counties are having a hard time just getting vaccines into arms. I think what we're finding is spending too much time worrying about tiering it becomes a problem. If you don't have enough demand and you're tier A, then you go to tier A, and then go to tier C, and you've just got to get those vaccines into arms now."

So the question becomes, how can states increase demand for the vaccine? And how can we get our population to reach herd immunity?

There are two quick ways to increase demand:

  1. Leaders must focus on tackling misinformation

    Research shows Americans are struggling to get clear and accurate information on the virus and vaccine. According to Pew Research Center, of the people who said they would not get the vaccine, 46% would be willing to change their mind once others receive it and more information becomes available.

  2. No vaccine left behind

    The US will need to immunize 75% of the population to reach herd immunity and get ‘back to normal’. With limited vaccine supply and instances where doses are thrown away at the end of the day because of lack of demand, willing recipients must be given the opportunity to show up and roll up their sleeves.

What states and their constituents need is trust. In order to build that trust, there needs to be a two-way communication system and a reliable and trustworthy source disseminating updated information. The solution: a civic engagement platform.

With a civic engagement platform, states create a forum that empowers the public to voice their thoughts and concerns in order to make informed decisions regarding vaccine distribution.

Jose Arrieta, former CIO of HHS, shares his thoughts on a civic engagement platform:

"I think really using civic engagement tools to directly engage at the working level of these agencies is a great way to ensure that the message reaches the workforce. That's going to be impacted most by the modernization effort that [states] are implementing."

With Cardinality’s solution, residents can share their vaccine reactions, concerns, and questions. Understanding the average resident’s thoughts about the vaccine is crucial for states managing limited supplies. This platform can also be used as a demand signal to alert interested residents where expiring doses are available to eliminate waste.

An informed public can also help reduce the spread of misinformation and encourage people to get the vaccine. A civic engagement platform also informs and alerts the public about relevant information regarding the vaccine and virus.

How can states use their money wisely to get the solutions they need?

A word from our cofounder Thiag Loganathan:

"There is this opportunity for outcome-oriented services when you have needs and you have to spend, but instead of spend, if you look at it as an investment, I mean, that's really what this budget is for. How do you prevent more instead of respond? How do you invest more instead of spending? How do you look at outcomes? Because healthy constituents, with good wellness and skills generate more taxable income."

Through collaboration, unity, and understanding, this civic engagement platform can energize the public to perform their civic duty and prevent the spread of the virus. States are getting the outcome-oriented services that will give them the return on investment needed to improve the lives of their communities now and in the future.

Check out our civic engagement platform made to fit the needs of states around the US.