Health Official Testifies on Need for Communicating Trusted COVID-19 Vaccine Information

April 15, 2021

ARLINGTON, VA—Today, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) member and public health leader Tracie Collins, MD, MPH, MHCDS, secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health, testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband at the hearing, “Shot of Truth: Communicating Trusted Vaccine Information.”

Collins testified on New Mexico’s efforts to disseminate accurate, timely information about COVID-19 vaccine safety to rural areas and communities of color. She also encouraged more Americans to get vaccinated.

“In New Mexico currently, more than 55% of the population has received at least one shot, and approximately 36% are fully vaccinated. Thanks to our state vaccine equity plan, this includes high proportions of minority communities and socially vulnerable communities,” says Collins. “A key component to our success is involving the voices of New Mexicans from across the state. We understand that persuasion is built on trust and that trust is often built on shared roots and experiences. During the past year, we held numerous virtual town hall events and launched our Trusted Voices campaign, which proved essential to continuing honest dialogue within our communities. These programs, coupled with translating COVID-19 materials into many languages at appropriate health literacy levels, are invaluable in building vaccine confidence.”

For more information and to read the state health official’s testimony, visit the committee’s website.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.