Giving Compass' Take:

• Maggie Koerth asks experts how to dispel misinformation and find a reliable COVID-19 vaccine before trusting unvetted alternatives.

• If an unreliable COVID-19 vaccine were to be widely distributed, what would that do to the state of vaccines around the world? How can we make sure marginalized communities receive information about and access to a reliable COVID-19 vaccine?

• Watch a video about the logistics of distributing a reliable COVID-19 vaccine.

Scientists around the world are currently undertaking one of the fastest vaccine-development programs in history, trying to get the novel coronavirus under control as quickly as humanly possible. But the vaccines being tested sit at a nexus of misinformation and mistrust. Between skepticism about the seriousness of the disease and long-standing culture wars around the safety of vaccines in general, it’s easy to find yourself floundering, unsure who you can trust.

Don’t get your COVID-19 vaccine advice from politicians or pharmaceutical companies, said William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Instead, trust independent scientists and medical professionals — your doctor, for instance, or your state’s health commissioner.

In terms of efficacy, the COVID-19 vaccine is not going to be like a measles shot, said Ali Moghtaderi, a professor of public health and management at George Washington University. Instead, we’re likely talking about something more like the flu vaccine — even if you get it, you won’t be perfectly protected.

How imperfect is the protection? Well, that’s still an open question, but the FDA has said it would require any vaccine to be at least 50 percent effective before approving it. But that still means that half the people who get the shot won’t be immune.

It’s critical that anyone talking to the public about the vaccine be honest about these limitations, Moghtaderi said. Both the government and the pharmaceutical companies have big conflicting interests in making sure a vaccine gets out quickly and gets used, so there’s a lot of incentive to overpromise or underinform in the pursuit of economic and political stability.

Read the full article about finding a reliable COVID-19 vaccine by Maggie Koerth at FiveThirtyEight.