public health communication

The debate on how to address the spread of incorrect information about vaccines and science in general, as never before, is affecting the main stakeholders in health and scientific communication.
Current vaccination campaigns aimed to address vaccine hesitancy do not work or do not work enough.

Some things just do not want to die. In public health, anti-vaccination movements keep sizzling debates, just as they did in the XIX century. At the same time,  the “deficit model” of science communication – the myth that the “public” is just ignorant and that it would support science, if spoon-fed information from the ivory tower – still haunts the relationship between health, science and the community, despite having been repeatedly debunked. The two zombies are more related than one could believe. Vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccination movements grow in the cracks between trust and knowledge, and these are the fault lines that communication should heal – or rip apart, if it fails.

May 13, 2017

Mandatory vaccinations for both healthcare workers and the public can obtain a rapid improvement in immunization rates, but in the end have high cost, especially in term of litigation. The same results can be achieved putting resources into better organization and communication programs. This is the opinion of Darina O’Flanagan, previous Director of Health Protection Surveillance Centre Ireland and a member of the Advisory Forum of the European Centre for Disease Control since its inception in 2005 up to 2016. She was also one of the founder partners of the European Vaccine Network VENICE and is participating to Pandem project, on behalf of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

Nyhan B, Reifler J, Richey S, Freed GL. Pediatrics. April, 2014.

Objectives: To test the effectiveness of messages designed to reduce vaccine misperceptions and increase vaccination rates for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR).

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