COVID-19 Immunization and Mitigating Vaccine Hesitancy
Jan 6, 2021
Preventing millions of deaths annually has been attributed to immunization, and its development is regarded as a significant global health achievement (WHO 2020). In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians and scientists have mobilized efforts to accelerate research and vaccine development, a process which typically spans over years (WHO 2020). Despite the proven safety and cost-effectiveness of immunization, low vaccination coverage across different socioeconomic settings has remained an ongoing public health challenge (WHO 2008). In 2019, the WHO cited vaccine hesitancy, or the reluctance and refusal to vaccinate despite availability, as one of the top ten global health threats (WHO 2019).
The WFPHA Immunization Taskforce fears that the lack of a coordinated response to growing vaccine hesitancy will further exacerbate the morbidity and mortality rates of the pandemic. In particular, there is concern that the uncontrolled spread of misinformation will disproportionately harm the most at-risk, vulnerable communities. As global COVID-19 immunization begins, health organizations and governments must be equipped to promote trust in the vaccines being distributed and must work alongside healthcare providers who are responsible for delivery. Therefore, the WFPHA International Immunization Policy Task Force provides Statement on COVID-19 Immunization and Mitigating Vaccine Hesitancy.