Former National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins said recently that his biggest mistake during the COVID-19 pandemic was failing to communicate to the public how the government’s recommendations on everything from masking to vaccinations were subject to change constantly.
“The big thing that I know I didn’t do, and I don’t think a lot of the communicators did, was to say, ‘This is an evolving crisis. This is going to change,’ every time we made a recommendation, whether it was about social distancing or mask wearing or vaccines,” Collins said on Sept. 16 at a gathering for the 21st Health Coverage Fellowship hosted by Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. “And we lost their confidence as a result of that.”
Collins, who now serves as a science adviser to the White House, suggested to journalists that a new government agency may be required to improve communications and fight “misinformation,” according to the health news website STAT, which provided excerpts of his remarks.
He praised the work and “unanimity of the scientific community” in the early days of the pandemic, which he credited with “trying to make sure that no stone was unturned to come up with vaccines and therapeutics and diagnostic tests that might save the lives that we were losing every day.”
Remarking on the “breathtaking” speed of mRNA vaccine development, he lamented that millions of Americans declined to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because of distrust in public health authorities.- READ MORE