Addressing the vaccine confidence gap.


Larson, HJ; Cooper, LZ; Eskola, J; Katz, SL; Ratzan, S; (2011) Addressing the vaccine confidence gap. Lancet. ISSN 0140-6736 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60678-8

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Abstract

Vaccines-often lauded as one of the greatest public health interventions-are losing public confidence. Some vaccine experts have referred to this decline in confidence as a crisis. We discuss some of the characteristics of the changing global environment that are contributing to increased public questioning of vaccines, and outline some of the specific determinants of public trust. Public decision making related to vaccine acceptance is neither driven by scientific nor economic evidence alone, but is also driven by a mix of psychological, sociocultural, and political factors, all of which need to be understood and taken into account by policy and other decision makers. Public trust in vaccines is highly variable and building trust depends on understanding perceptions of vaccines and vaccine risks, historical experiences, religious or political affiliations, and socioeconomic status. Although provision of accurate, scientifically based evidence on the risk-benefit ratios of vaccines is crucial, it is not enough to redress the gap between current levels of public confidence in vaccines and levels of trust needed to ensure adequate and sustained vaccine coverage. We call for more research not just on individual determinants of public trust, but on what mix of factors are most likely to sustain public trust. The vaccine community demands rigorous evidence on vaccine efficacy and safety and technical and operational feasibility when introducing a new vaccine, but has been negligent in demanding equally rigorous research to understand the psychological, social, and political factors that affect public trust in vaccines.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Vaccine Centre
PubMed ID: 21664679
Web of Science ID: 294077200032
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/621

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