Vaccination

Vaccination is one of public health’s most successful tools for preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases and, increasingly, cancers and chronic diseases too. Immunization is an effective and cost-efficient strategy that prevents sickness and death in all age groups and saves billions of dollars each year. The COVID-19 epidemic and recent outbreaks of measles and other preventable infectious diseases underscore the importance of vaccines and sustaining high vaccination rates. Work is needed to ensure that people of all ages receive a complete series of the vaccines they need.

Themes

  • Vaccines are safe and effective: Vaccines are highly regulated, safe, and effective. Clear, consistent and effective messaging is needed to spread this narrative and build confidence in vaccines.
  • Vaccination is a public health imperative: Vaccination is our surest strategy to combat COVID-19, as well as influenza, measles, polio, meningitis, and many other deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases. Ensuring people get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 continues to be a public health priority. Now is the time to promote vaccination against other maladies as well, like seasonal influenza, shingles, HPV, childhood series and others.
  • Increasing vaccine confidence: Misinformation about vaccines is as old as vaccines themselves. Misinformation feeds anti-vaccine sentiments which can erode public confidence and lead to reduced rates of immunization, and thus population-immunity. Increasing vaccine confidence is an antidote to misinformation. Using trusted messengers to deliver information about vaccines, and partnering with trusted community institutions, like places of worship, to encourage vaccination and administer vaccines are effective approaches. Communication strategies, such as communicating vaccine information in positive and personal language, and correcting misinformation in a constructive way, also help to increase vaccine confidence.

 

Equity & Systems

Vaccination can only reach its full potential when a large majority of the at-risk population is immune. Issues of inequitable access to and distribution of vaccines, and prevailing anti-vaccination sentiments stand in the way of achieving full population-scale protective effects of vaccines. Addressing barriers to vaccination, inequitable distribution of vaccines, and shoring up our public health system to implement vaccine guidelines and communicate them effectively are priorities for public health today.

Featured Resources

This article examines vaccine hesitancy, with a focus on COVID-19 vaccines. It discusses concerns and conspiracy theories driving COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, the need for compassion in vaccine education, levels of trust in individuals and institutions that discover, develop, and deliver vaccines, and more.

This webinar features a panel of public health leaders who address how to build confidence and trust in COVID-19 vaccines and discuss effective communication strategies, including language that works to improve vaccine acceptance.

This policy brief focuses on how historic maltreatment of communities of color and tribal nations, along with current day structural racism, have created distrust of government and healthcare in many communities of color and tribal communities. It provides six key recommendations on policy actions to help build trust in and access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Related Resources

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Related Topics

Building Trust

Building trust in COVID-19 vaccination and other public health interventions is fundamental to the work of public health and efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic. We can build trust by combating misinformation, supporting trusted messengers and networks, improving our trustworthiness, and deepening relationships that engender trust over time. Building trust between public health and communities facilitates acceptance of public health interventions and can cultivate an equitable COVID-19 response now and conditions for well-being in the future.

Community Mitigation

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