It’s Time to Rebuild Public Confidence in Vaccines

Heidi Larson, Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, wrote this Devex opinion piece outlining why, and how, we need to work on rebuilding public trust in vaccines. Below is an excerpt from the article.

We need to start by being open to discussion and making information available in a language and context relevant to those we are communicating with. Topics such as how the immune system works, how vaccines are developed, and how they work are not widely understood. Too much of the information currently available needs medical training to decipher. On the other hand, many vaccine critics are extremely good at communicating simple ideas using emotive language.

We also need to get much smarter about social media engagement. A lot of the information about vaccines available online is inaccurate or simply wrong. Much of it is not even deliberate misinformation, but misunderstood information. Countering rumors, myths, and falsehoods requires investments of time and technology to engage effectively. This includes communicating transparently around incidents where vaccines have caused adverse effects.

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