30 minutes | Apr 8, 2021

Frances Stead Sellers: Vaccines “Are Not Bulletproof Vests”

Journalist, writer, editor Frances Stead Sellers returned to share new insights. Leaders like Henrietta Fore, UNICEF, struggle with “incredible added burdens” dealing with crises in childhood education and disrupted immunizations while “vaccinating the world” against Covid-19 with Gavi. “Imagine being Henrietta Fore. .. The strains on the organization are enormous.” Francis Collins, head of NIH, faces similar expansive responsibilities, and uses his own voice “as a person of faith” to address vaccine hesitancy. The Washington Post Live series, one-on-one conversations, creates a new “intimacy” where guests are more reflective. Over and over during the pandemic, journalists face the “We don’t know” quandary of scientific uncertainty. “We keep getting ahead of ourselves.” That requires laying out what different experts believe, a form of “service journalism”. Vaccine hesitancy among Republican men is a “new phenomenon,” very “distressing,” that reflects our immense national divisions. People want to hear from their friends, from trusted individuals. It is important for people’s “barber to be seen getting vaccinated.” Her personal hope for the future? “I desperately want to return to real-life meetings… Nothing beats face-to-face meetings.”

Frances Stead Sellers is a Senior Writer and Reporter on the National Desk at the Washington Post.

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