Significant gaps in coverage in both infant and adult immunization programs across the world mean that hundreds of millions of people are not being protected against serious infectious diseases. There are myriad reasons for low vaccine uptake including challenges to access, affordability, awareness, acceptance and simple activation of people to act.
This meeting will focus primarily on vaccine hesitancy, understanding the drivers and barriers to awareness, acceptance and activation, with a view to informing the development of effective strategies to close immunization gaps.
Information and education alone do not change behavior. So what might work?
The development and implementation of vaccination programs is built upon rigorous science to ensure efficacy, effectiveness, safety, quality and supply. However, a number of recent reviews suggest that the same scientific rigor is not being applied to a final crucial determinant of vaccination: uptake of vaccines by the public. These reviews consistently found poor quality in study design, including lack of consistent, reliable and validated outcome measures.
Successful development, implementation, and evaluation of vaccination uptake require the participation of individuals and communities, along with healthcare providers and researchers, the public and private sectors, and civil society organizations. Collaboration between those who generate the evidence and those who apply it in practice is key to success.
There are a few interventions that are effective in enhancing vaccination uptake. However, these are scattered and often hard to find and appraise. We must not let the best be the enemy of the good - there is an immediate need to find and share best practices with the global immunization community.
This meeting brings together people from diverse settings across the globe working in vaccination uptake for mutual learning and knowledge exchange. The ultimate aim is to improve interventions and develop them where they do not exist, so that more people get the vaccinations they need and better health for all can be achieved.