As mask mandates end at schools, people return to the office and infections and hospitalization numbers drop, many people have a renewed sense of optimism that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. But while COVID-19 restrictions ease and the country returns to some semblance of normalcy, health professionals stress the importance of continuing vaccination efforts.
In his State of the Union address this month, President Biden said the United States will continue to combat the virus, and stressed the effectiveness of vaccines. “We will never give up on vaccinating more Americans,” he said.
But after more than two years of the pandemic, some people are starting to tune out public health messages about the virus, and health professionals are trying to change their messaging and strategies to continue to reach the vaccine hesitant.
“What we noticed within the community is, honestly, people seem fatigued of hearing about COVID,” said Iliana Barreto, a community organizer with the Granite State Organizing Project who coordinates the group’s vaccine efforts at the Centro Latino de Hospitalidad drop-in center, which provides referrals and other services twice a week at Manchester’s Catholic parish St. Anne-St. Augustin. “It’s been two years, going on three years now, and they just feel like they just want to get over it. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality we’re living.”