Journalists Gather for Information Session on Vaccines
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – Today, the Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) convened journalists from across Latin America to contribute to their understanding of the science of vaccines.
The media plays an important role in increasing public awareness of public health threats and potential solutions. Journalists can help shape the public understanding of health issues such as immunization, vaccines and disease outbreaks. Science journalists can help shape demand for public health services, including immunizations, with ongoing, fact-based articles. As a result, it is important to ensure that journalists are properly informed of public health initiatives in their regions and are able provide accurate information.
In Latin America, journalists are responsible for reporting on many topics instead of focusing on just one subject. Without the time to specialize in one area, topic-specific training sessions play an important role in both educating journalists and drawing their attention to issues. It is important to ensure that journalists are informed about relevant public health concerns as well as basic epidemiology and immunology of vaccines.
During the three-day information session hosted by Sabin, in partnership with the Universidad I Salud and the Centro de Estudos para la Prevención y el Control de Enfermedades Transmisibles, journalists will learn from public health experts about clinical trials, vaccine safety, how to communicate the impact of immunization, and basic epidemiology and immunology of vaccines, among other topics. By bringing together public health experts and 25 journalists from 18 countries, the information session will provide Latin American journalists with a baseline understanding of vaccines, vaccine safety and related global health issues.
“The introduction and widespread use of vaccines in Latin America has changed the face of child health in the region as many of the once-common infectious diseases of childhood have been significantly reduced,” said Dr. Bruce Gellin, president of global immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “Our challenge now is to be vigilant and ensure that populations continue to be protected from these diseases – we know that when immunity in the community is reduced, these diseases can return as individual cases or as an outbreak. Local media can play an important role in helping people make informed decisions about their health. We’re proud to provide an opportunity for journalists to learn more about vaccines and vaccination to support effective and accurate media coverage of these life-saving interventions.”
Pediatricians, scientists and public health experts agree: vaccines are safe, vaccines are necessary and vaccines work. Despite the evidence, however, there is a slight but steady trend of families failing to vaccinate their children according to the routine immunization schedule, leaving their children vulnerable to infectious diseases. As successful vaccine campaigns have reduced the visibility of major contagions like pertussis, rubella and measles, conveying the urgency of immunization has become more complex. Journalists play a critical role in communicating the importance of vaccination and dispelling vaccine misinformation in a culturally sensitive manner.
This is the fourth vaccine information session for journalists that Sabin has convened in order to enable more effective and accurate media coverage of global health, vaccines and local public health campaigns. Sabin has previously hosted vaccine information sessions in Peru, Brazil and Chile that have helped journalists to drive more effective, accurate media coverage.
About the Sabin Vaccine Institute
The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, advancing vaccine research and development, and amplifying vaccine knowledge and innovation. Unlocking the potential of vaccines through partnership, Sabin has built a robust ecosystem of funders, innovators, implementers, practitioners, policy makers and public stakeholders to advance its vision of a future free from preventable diseases. As a non-profit with more than two decades of experience, Sabin is committed to finding solutions that last and extending the full benefits of vaccines to all people, regardless of who they are or where they live. At Sabin, we believe in the power of vaccines to change the world. For more information, visit http://www.sabin.org and follow us on Twitter, @SabinVaccine.