"Vaccine hesitancy" highlighted by WHO in editorial

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Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO

People who delay or refuse vaccines for themselves or their children are presenting a growing challenge for countries seeking to close the immunization gap, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The UN health agency estimates that globally, one in five children still do not receive routine life-saving immunizations, and an estimated 1.5 million children die each year of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.

In a special issue of the journal Vaccine published on Tuesday, experts review the role of vaccine hesitancy in limiting vaccine coverage and explore strategies to address it.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Vaccine hesitancy refers to a delay in the acceptance or the refusal of safe vaccines despite their availability.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the issue is complex and influenced by factors such as misinformation, complacency, convenience and confidence.

Some people reportedly have negative beliefs based on myths, such as vaccination of women leading to infertility.

Recommendations proposed by WHO in the recently published editorial aim to increase the understanding of vaccine hesitancy, its determinants and challenges.

They also suggest ways organizations can increase acceptance of vaccines, such as using effective communication to dispel fears.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 47″

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