Dr. Monica Gandhi: Success Comes From “Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines”

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Dr. Monica Gandhi has thought deeply about the complex transition we have entered, with many vaccinated, and many not. We need to behave differently in private versus public settings. Being polite and compassionate remain essential. Resistance to vaccines comes from different populations, each requiring a different approach: racial and ethnic minorities; youth; those who ask what will be the rewards for getting vaccinated; and the recalcitrant. There has to be far more “positive motivation,” a form of “proactive, vaccine optimism” based on a concrete blueprint for how our lives will improve through vaccines. CDC guidance during this transition, on travel and outdoor masks, has been confusing but will improve as more people are vaccinated. School closures in the United States have been excessive. “It is political.” We are “not looking at data cleanly.” Global vaccine inequity is the world’s biggest moral challenge: we need to do “whatever it takes” to expand manufacturing and access. The population living with HIV whom she serves in San Francisco suffers from extreme loneliness, “untold mental health effects.” Her advice: “Please go see a friend.”

Dr. Monica Gandhi is Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, Director of UCSF AIDS Research, and Medical Director of the HIV Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital (“Ward 86.”)