The World Federation of Public Health Association (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.
The WFPHA Immunization Taskforce recommends:
1. National authorities, NGOs and health organizations should publicly express support for sub-national and/or community-led initiatives that address vaccine hesitancy to help sustain local COVID-19 immunization efforts.
2. The international community should acknowledge that life course immunization is a key component of universal health coverage and a necessary preventative measure that can save millions of lives.
3. Public health officials and organizations should express their concerns about the lack of investment and infrastructure needed to target public health messages to at-risk populations and recommend investing in public health promotion and literacy as a preventative measure.
4. Knowledge translation research efforts be strengthened to enhance communication between public health professionals, policymakers, and the general public with the goal of establishing a common agenda.
5. Governments should maintain transparency about vaccine funding and development to ensure that the general public understands how this intervention best serves public health interests.
We are aware that your organization might have already put effort into this important topic and would be happy to collaborate to increase pressure on decision-makers with the help of our statement. Possible ways of engagement could be posting about the statement on your organization’s website and social media platforms, publishing an article on the topic in a newspaper, translating the statement to your local language and advocating for it with local decision-makers. Your logo can be also added to our statement to highlight your support.
The full statement is attached to this document and available on our website here.