Vaccine Hesitancy: A Widespread Problem. Here are the WHO’s recommendations

The monographic issue of Vaccine, published in August 2015 under the title “WHO Recommendations Regarding Vaccine Hesitancy”, is a collection of materials produced by a group specifically dedicated to the topic in 2012, under the combined leadership of the WHO and UNICEF.

This partnership formulated a definition of vaccine hesitancy as a “delay in the acceptance of or the refusal of vaccinations, despite the availability of vaccine services”. Skepticism regarding vaccinations is a phenomenon that has existed since the earliest vaccines. Today this fear is supported and amplified by the fact that anybody can read about contradictory viewpoints on the Internet, even when such information has objectively nothing to do with science itself.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) of the World Health Organization emphasizes that it is urgent and necessary to develop institutional systems and organizational competencies on the local, national, and global levels in order to proactively identify, monitor, and address vaccine hesitancy, as well as to respond promptly to anti-vaccine movements that disseminate disinformation about possible adverse events following immunization. 

Another aspect underlined by the monograph is the urgency to share as much as possible about the organization and availability of vaccination programs, involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process.

It is essential to have a greater analytical capacity to establish the areas in which vaccine hesitancy originates. For this reason, the final recommendations of SAGE concentrate on three main categories: understanding the determiners of vaccine hesitancy; highlighting the organizational aspects that ease the acceptance of vaccines; and evaluating the instruments necessary for opposing this phenomenon.

MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence