Towards a User’s Guide to increasing and maintaining vaccination uptake.
Vaccination acceptance is increasingly recognized as a challenge to the success of vaccination programs. The global immunisation community is realizing that top-down monologues, provision of information and education do not change behavior. So what does 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 rigour is not being applied to a final crucial determinant of vaccination; uptake of vaccines by the public. These reviews consistently found a lack of quality in study design, including lack of consistent, reliable and validated outcome measures.
Other domains of healthcare such as maternal and child health or sexual health have effectively developed and employed evidence-informed social & behavior change interventions. Developing such interventions requires rigorous formative research, which takes time and energy, but the evidence suggests that this is time well spent. Moreover, there is a need for outlining suitable methods for designing and evaluating these interventions.
Successful implementation, and development, of these approaches with require the participation of individuals and communities, along with healthcare providers, the public and private sectors, and civil society organisations. Collaboration between those who generate the evidence and those who apply it in practice will be key to success.
There are of course some interventions that are working for vaccination uptake. However, these are scattered and hard to find. We must not let the best be the enemy of the good - there is an immediate need to find and share these best practices with the global immunisation community.
As a step towards cataloguing what is working now, developing better and more effective interventions, and stimulating collaborations this symposium will share a broad range of experience in implementation research and practice, from high, middle and low income countries.