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Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy and How to Address It

Nicole Parkerson is a Regional Medical Director employed by Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Parkerson graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed her residency in Pediatrics at University of Virginia Medical Center. She is board-certified in Pediatrics. She served as managing physician partner at Raleigh Pediatric Associates and has held positions of Associate Faculty for University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC and Board Member for Key Physicians IPA in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Parkerson has also served as Board Member for Cigna Physician Advisory Board in Raleigh.

Messaging to the Public about Vaccines: The Evidence Base and Lessons Learned in a Pandemic

Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Division of Population Science, Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Leader is a full research member and the Associate Director of Community Integration at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) at Jefferson. She also teaches courses in social and behavioral science and the capstone research project in the Master of Public Health program at Jefferson’s College of Population Health. In addition to leading a portfolio of externally funded research in cancer prevention and control, Dr. Leader serves on the Strategic Leadership Cancer Control Task Force for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, is a member of the PA HPV Immunization Coalition, is on the Executive Committee for the Section on Public Health at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and co-founded the Greater Philadelphia HPV Immunization Collaborative. She was recently elected as the 2021 chair of the Cancer Special Interest Group at the Society of Behavioral Medicine.


In 2019, the World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy a top 10 threat to global public health. Vaccine hesitancy threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases and could compromise our ability to curb a raging global pandemic. Learn about the underlying causes of vaccine hesitancy, what health care professionals can do to lessen vaccine hesitancy among patients, and how research is uncovering the most effective ways to message vaccines to the public.



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