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Give It Your Best Shot: Reaching the Vaccine-Hesitant Young

2021 Johns Hopkins-Pulitzer Center Symposium

Nearly one in four young people is hesitant about COVID-19 vaccination, putting them at risk for severe disease. 

  • How can public health officials reach adolescents and young people? 

  • What messages in social media and elsewhere resonate with them? 

  • How are journalists reaching younger audiences? 

For this online event, the Pulitzer Center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health convened journalists from the CNN/BBC documentary Race for the Vaccine and public health experts to discuss opportunities and pitfalls in this pandemic communication challenge. A recording can be found below.


  • Medical journalist Caleb Hellerman, director of Race for the Vaccine 

  • Award-winning filmmaker Janet Tobias, executive producer of Race for the Vaccine

  • Johns Hopkins experts: 
    • Rupali Limaye, director of Behavioral and Implementation Science, International Vaccine Access Center 

    • Nick Moran, associate director of Audience Development, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health   

The speakers also will share examples of successful communication to young people from news articles, documentaries, and social media. Two Bloomberg School graduate students will lead the post-discussion Q&A.

  • Quiana Lewis, doctoral student, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health
  • Aneri Pattani, MPH student, a Bloomberg fellow, and national correspondent with Kaiser Health News

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is part of the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium network. The Global Health Reporting Center and Wingspan Productions produced CNN/BBC’s Race for the Vaccine in association with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, which was also a scientific advisor for the documentary. This film, which followed leading scientists developing the Covid vaccine during the pandemic, also was supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.