The State of Vaccine Confidence

The State of Vaccine Confidence

Download the full report, including details of confidence challenges, strategies, research methods, and the Vaccine Confidence Index.

Confidence Commentary: The VCP Blog Blog archive

The State of Vaccine
Confidence Report 2015

Heidi Larson | March 27, 2015

On 26 March 2015, The Vaccine Confidence Project launched our first report on The State of Vaccine Confidence. This report reflects on the past decade of vaccine confidence episodes and lessons to be learned globally since the 2003-2004 northern Nigeria polio vaccination boycott.  The release of the report also marks the start of a joint project between The Vaccine Confidence Project and Global Public Health Polling Network (Gallup International) to map the state of vaccine confidence globally. The results from the first five countries studied through this collaboration are presented in the report.

Five years ago, Margaret Chan, WHO’s Director-General, may have surprised her Executive Board with what was probably an unexpected message: Reflecting upon a difficult year of managing risk and uncertainty around the H1N1 pandemic, with a less-than-cooperative public, she concluded, “The days when health officials could issue advice, based on the very best medical and scientific data and expected populations to comply, may be fading.”  She was right.

The report opens with a preface titled, “The Power of Belief,” followed by an introductory chapter situating the state of vaccine confidence.  Chapter 2 is an analysis of “Confidence challenges and Successes over the past Decade” which sets the stage for the third chapter “Measuring vaccine confidence:  No single metric tells a story” which presents our Vaccine Confidence Index and the results of our five-country study, with a broader discussion on innovation around ways to measure confidence. Finally, we present conclusions and summarise strategic lessons.

In August 2003, when five states in northern Nigeria launched a boycott of polio vaccination, which Kano State sustained for eleven months, few could have imagined the long term global impacts and costs to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.  One of the key lessons is that medical science alone cannot achieve immunisation goals, social and political science is also needed.

It is clear that the twenty-first century will present – and already has presented – unprecedented challenges for health programmes including and beyond immunisation.

Yet we can also foresee new possibilities, built on a foundation of lessons learned, combined with the promise of a coming generation of new innovations to understand and engage publics.

Trust is built, brick by brick, from individual acts of goodwill. It requires genuine care for and accountability to the general public. The task that stands before public health leaders is to listen to their publics, hear their concerns, and take them seriously.

We hope the stories and analyses presented in the State of Vaccine Confidence report make a compelling case to never, never assume what is in the minds and emotions of people. And, never forget that they can change.