Support for a national vaccine holiday grows

A group of public health experts including Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health doctoral student Keona Wynne are pushing for the creation of a National Vaccine Day, a one-time federal holiday to build confidence in vaccines and remember those who died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a February 7, 2021, Stat op-ed, Wynne and co-authors detailed their plan and described the potential holiday as a “large scale, innovative public health intervention that focuses the nation’s attention on vaccination.” They noted that the holiday should not be scheduled until it is safe to do so and that having a federal holiday to strive toward would “serve as the light at the end of the tunnel, simultaneously creating a national benchmark to complete widespread vaccination campaigns and a day of opportunity for science education, social restoration, and remembrance.”

A March 2, 2021, ABC News article noted that four former U.S. Surgeon Generals have thrown their support behind the idea and signed a letter to President Joe Biden recommending the holiday.

During a March 10, 2021, Scripps National TV segment, Wynne pointed to President Harry Truman declaring “Victory Day” a federal holiday after World War II as precedent. She also discussed how the holiday could engender a strong sense of community.

“I think that one way that this campaign can work is by making getting vaccinated fun and turn it into this positive thing that we’re doing as a community,” she said. “It’s something that we’re doing to come together.”

Read the Stat op-ed: The U.S. needs a National Vaccine Day

Read the ABC News article: 4 former surgeons general join call for ‘National Vaccine Day’

Watch the Scripps National segment: Some pushing for one-time federal holiday called ‘National Vaccine Day’