Education and Health System Collaboration are Indispensable in Vaccination Coverage
The practice of immunization dates back hundreds of years.
Over the 18th and 19th centuries, systematic implementation of
mass smallpox immunization culminated in its global eradication in 1979.
The 20th century saw great successes at developing vaccines and reducing
the burden of infectious diseases such as yellow fever, hepatitis B and influenza.
Despite the achieved success of vaccination, rumors
about vaccine/vaccination have long circulated or perpetuated in
communities. For instance, vaccination can cause autism
mercury in vaccines acts as a neurotoxin; vaccines are a ruse to sterilize children
vaccines are contaminated with human immunodeficiency virus.
In places where illiteracy is high and access to
information is limited, these rumors are hard to debunk such that
the populace is prone to accepting anti-vaccine “facts
Education is imperative to battle rumor and resistance
to vaccine campaigns. For childhood diseases,
healthcare professionals may get trained and help start or continue
conversations with parents when they have questions or concerns about their
children’s vaccines, and let them understand the risks and responsibilities
if they choose not to vaccinate.
An alternative way to disseminate educational information is communicating with media.
The focus is that the mass media communicate the key messages
about vaccine safety to the public, including the counteracting of
negative rumors, and keep the public well informed.
However, infectious diseases ignore borders and thus mobility-induced
interconnections between administrative units have consequences.
Because of a vaccine scare starting in 2002,8
authorities in the northern Nigeria state of Kano interrupted
polio vaccination in 2003-2004
This occurred in a context that neighboring countries had unideal polio vaccine coverage;
Vaccinations resumed in July the same year,12 but between
the official interruption and the longer lasting public distrust,
Vaccin Res Open J. 2018; 3(1): e1-e3. doi: 10.17140/VROJ-3-e005