Public Health

COVID-19 vaccines guide for physicians


The AMA has called for the utmost transparency in the COVID-19 vaccine development process. It is critical that physicians and patients have confidence in the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines as these become available for public use. 

To promote factual information around COVID-19 online, the AMA's COVID-19 vaccines guide for physicians contains background and actions, evidence-based messaging guidance and best practices for consideration in external communications on COVID-19 vaccine topics.

COVID-19 vaccines guide for physicians

Explore messaging guidance on COVID-19 vaccines, clinical trials, combating misinformation and more.

Guía sobre la COVID-19 para médicos

Recursos para generar confianza en mensajes basados en la evidencia, las vacunas y los ensayos clínicos.

Physicians and the broader public health community must continue working to build trust in vaccine safety and efficacy, especially in marginalized and minoritized communities with historically well-founded mistrust in medical institutions.

Social content & talking points

Explore sample social media posts on COVID-19 vaccinations and safety precautions and find sample talking points on COVID-19 vaccine confidence, science and public health.

Sample social posts

I trust the facts and medicine, including public health initiatives to keep us all healthy. Help keep your family, community and health-workers safe by #MaskUp #COVID19

Facts, logic and compassion require us to all do our part. Get vaccinated. #COVID19

Vaccination and preventative measures are our best way forward. The more information we share openly, the sooner we’ll get to normal. #VaccinesWork #COVID19

Any and all #COVID19 vaccines authorized will meet the highest standards of quality, safety and effectiveness set by the FDA’s rigorous regulatory review process.

Sample talking points

I join the AMA and leading organizations representing U.S. physicians, nurses and hospitals in affirming my commitment to ensuring COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and ultimately authorized through a rigorous scientific and regulatory process.

Transparency builds trust. Physicians should advise their patients about possible side effects including lethargy, mild fever, body aches and pains, but this often means the vaccine is working to establish immunity. If you have any questions or concerns about side effects, contact your physician.

Even when a COVID-19 vaccine is available, we must continue to wear masks, physical distance and wash our hands, until we have a critical mass of the population vaccinated.

Messages (AMA position)

Messages detail the AMA’s position on a range of vaccine-related topics, such as:

  • Vaccine development.
  • Importance of vaccines.
  • Combatting the spread of vaccine misinformation.
  • New ethical guidance for physicians and vaccines.
  • General vaccine recommendations.
  • Eliminating non-medical exemptions for vaccines.
  • Flu vaccine availability amid COVID-19.
  • Historical distrust in medical institutions.
  • Science.

These messages can be adapted and leveraged for external engagements and social media.

Best practices: General media

Find guidance for offering media commentary as well as recommendation that can be leveraged for interviews—such as top 10 do's and don'ts—and other external engagements.

Best practices: Social media 

Social media platforms can advance evidence-based information from credible sources and reduce the spread of misinformation. AMA provides recommendations for creating social media content on the COVID-19 vaccine, and best practices for social content to maximize visibility, including: 

  • Calls to action.
  • Informative content.
  • Language and tone, including language swaps in COVID-19 messaging.
    • Examples of COVID-19 language swaps: Instead of saying "Lockdown," say "Stay-at-home order" or instead of saying "Coronavirus/COVID-19," say "Pandemic."

Best practices: Dealing with detractors

Discussing certain topics via online platforms can be contentious, especially when dealing with advocacy issues. Physicians may inevitably face individuals with strong presences online who disagree. Assessing risks before responding to negative comments is critical to delivering an appropriate response.

  • Establish a response policy.
  • Understand the social landscape.
  • Make an informed decision.
  • Respond with facts.