How’s 2021 working out for you?

Remember a few weeks ago, when we were all excited about 2020 coming to an end, and how much we were looking forward to 2021 because it was a whole new start in all kinds of ways and would finally — finally! — put such a terrible 12 months behind us?

Yeah, me too. 

So here we are, with the promise of a fresh start in the rearview mirror after just six short days. If the news wasn’t about what happened at the Capitol, then it was about the mess that vaccine distribution had devolved into. Don’t look back, I tell myself. Look forward. And as I do, I see markers in the road: One year since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the U.S. And a bit farther ahead, one year since I saw all my colleagues in one place, gathered around a high top for our daily stand-up meeting, talking about the logistical challenge of the entire staff working remotely.

We met that challenge. And we’ll sort out the vaccine distribution mess, too. We have no choice. There is some good news in the seeming chaos of the scrum for shots: People want it. There are still pockets of vaccine hesitancy, of course, most unnervingly among some medical workers and long-term care staffers. And the anti-vaxxers are going to anti-vax no matter what. But when people are willing to sleep overnight on the sidewalk to receive inoculations, it offers proof that a significant part of the population has received the message that the vaccines are safe and effective and we can move closer to herd immunity.

But there is still important messaging work to be done, which is why MM+M and its parent, Haymarket Media, has created The Vaccine Project. An offshoot of our popular Coronavirus Briefing, we intend the Vaccine Project to bring together some of the finest minds in medical communication to aid the creation of meaningful, effective work to help end the pandemic. We need messaging that convinces all people to get vaccinated, and to practice good public health habits until we’ve reached herd immunity. It will take the dedicated and focused work of everyone in this field, including you. MM+M editor-at-large Marc Iskowitz spoke with behavioral scientists about how to fix the ailing vaccine rollout, while Laura Entis spoke to experts about four questions you need to ask before building vaccine messaging.

If you would like to be a part of The Vaccine Project, please reach out to me or anyone on MM+M’s staff. Together, we can put this, like 2020, behind us.