The need to build vaccine confidence
By Laia Ruiz
Photo: Alex Mecl
With the spread of Covid-19, we see the challenge of vaccine low intake in countries with access to vaccines. But vaccine low intake impacts more than Covid-19, it contributes to 1.5 million deaths annually from vaccine preventable diseases.
The spread of doubts, fears, and misinformation about vaccines has led to the re-emergence of infectious disease outbreaks in areas where they were once controlled. You only need to check measles cases in the WHO European Region, where in 2020 there was an increase of -82% among non-vaccinated people.
Additionally, vaccine low intake can (and will probably) affect the uptake of future health technologies such as HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria vaccines, once they are available. Also, monoclonal antibodies, long-lasting antiretrovirals or any other health intervention that requires a needle may face the same vaccine low intake we are seeing with traditional vaccines.
Much has been said about what causes these doubts and how they spread. If we are to overcome the existing challenges, we must start working on strengthening public trust and confidence in vaccines as important public health tools. Advocates and activists play a key role in creating and promoting vaccine confidence – this is especially true when they have been engaged at the outset of the R&D process. When advocates are involved in the research lifecycle, they can more effectively inform and engage with their communities, resolve their doubts, and become a reliable source of information.
From the COVID Advocates Advisory Board (CAAB) we want to start building this bridge to improve the current situation, and ensure it is not repeated.
Will you join us?low
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