With more than 90% of countries reporting vaccine hesitancy, the World Health Organization declared in January 2019 that it was one of the top ten threats to global health.
According to WHO, vaccine hesitancy is a “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services.” WHO states that addressing vaccine hesitancy requires not just an understanding of the magnitude of this problem but also a diagnosis of the root causes, tailored evidence-based approaches to addressing hesitancy, and monitoring and evaluating the interventions.
Vaccine hesitancy has been an ongoing issue in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), and has recently increased due to concerns about safety and long-term effects. This situation in LMICs, coupled with the growing influence of anti-vaxxers in high income countries, has led to an increase in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases that were once thought mostly eradicated, such as measles, pertussis, and diphtheria around the world.
In addition, with technology and social media booming over the last decade, online platforms have become a go-to outlet for vaccine-hesitant individuals to share misinformation about vaccines. One study found a significant relationship between organized anti-vaccine messaging on social media and public doubts of vaccine safety. In a second study, the authors conclude that as social media platforms gain increasing popularity globally, public health professionals are increasingly concerned regarding the impact of anti-vaccination content on downstream vaccine denial. This further threatens the uptake of emerging vaccines such as COVID-19…Readmore