Over the last 200 years, vaccines have proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent and control disease. They have tremendous potential to save lives, but only if immunization rates remains high.
The evidence confirming the safety and effectiveness of vaccines is overwhelming. Just as we rely on evidence and research to make decisions about vaccine development and introduction, we must research and identify approaches that would enable people to better understand the safety and protections provided by immunization. Every parent should understand how vaccines protect their children and communities from devastating diseases that once affected so many.
A few parents are deciding to delay the recommended immunization schedule or decline vaccination altogether, though the reasons underlying these decisions vary widely depending on the location, demographic and vaccine in question. Delay or refusal of childhood immunizations poses a danger to unvaccinated children and to public health by leaving children vulnerable to serious diseases like polio, measles and diphtheria. Low vaccination rates reduce community or herd immunity, which is essential to keep such diseases out of a population.
Immunization managers, health professionals and the media must be prepared to answer parents’ questions to inspire confidence in immunization.
Sabin connects people with the resources they need to overcome barriers to vaccination and improve vaccine uptake. Sabin helps immunization professionals inoculate against misinformation about vaccines by providing them with the latest tactics, tools and behavioral insights to encourage vaccine confidence within their communities.
The Vaccine Acceptance Research Network seeks to build and support a network that increases vaccination acceptance and demand, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, through the design, development, application and use of social and behavioral science expertise, evidence, methods and approaches. The Vaccine Acceptance Research Network is building an international, multi-disciplinary, not-for-profit network to foster and facilitate social and behavioral science-based collaborations. The network includes university-based social and behavioral researchers and scientists; national immunization programs and public health institutes; immunization stakeholder agencies, partners and donors; public health schools, researchers and research institutes; public health agencies and ministries of health; and professional societies and associations (e.g., medical, health communications, behavioral and social science).
To learn more about the project email VARN@sabin.org.
The Sabin Vaccine Institute serves as the Vaccine Acceptance Research Network Secretariat.
Photo credit: CDC PHIL