The big news this week is that the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 has been “fully approved.” That means the FDA has moved beyond the original emergency use authorization (EUA), and is now giving it their highest stamp of approval.  Many people said they would not take the vaccine because it only had the EUA. So now things are going to change.
Except, they won’t. Because that’s not the reason people aren’t getting the vaccine. The main reason we’re hovering at 52% fully vaccinated is because people don’t trust the government.
The next step in this process, of course, is mandates. Already lots of companies are requiring that employees get vaccinated. Colleges are requiring students be vaccinated. Cities are requiring restaurant patrons to be vaccinated. By the time you read this, there will likely be more mandates.
And guess what happens with the millions of people who don’t trust the government when that same government requires they be vaccinated? The obvious: even more distrust.
This post is about the pandemic, but the problem is far deeper. Most of us don’t trust our government. And the government acts like it doesn’t know (or doesn’t care.)
The first step to build trust is to admit that it’s not there. To acknowledge why you might not be trusted. To explore opportunities to be worthy of trust. And to show, patiently and repeatedly, that you can do what you said you were going to do, and apologize when you fail.
That’s what we want from one another. And it’s what we should expect from a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.