Who has more faith in vaccine safety: parents in France or Bangladesh?
What causes some people to say no to vaccines – not to be sure? A survey of nearly 66,000 people on immunization attitudes found some surprising results. In France, 41 percent of respondents said they had no confidence in the safety of the vaccine. In Bangladesh, by contrast, less than one percent of respondents said they lacked confidence.
In fact, mistakes and defects of vaccination (including some parents refused to let their children vaccinated) cause polio, measles and other rising Numbers of preventable disease outbreak. Public health officials worry about the possibility of these diseases re-emerging – not just in developing countries, but in highly developed economies.
To learn more, we talked to Heidi Jane Larson, the lead author and director of the London school of hygiene and tropical medicine vaccine confidence program.
You surveyed people from 67 countries for your research. What is the attitude towards vaccines?
We ask people [if they] agree or disagree with the following four statements: if they have confidence that vaccines are important to children; They are safe; They are effective; They conform to their religious beliefs. In general, people from all over the world think that vaccines are important to children [the percentage of people who disagree with this statement is less than 10 percent in every region]. But when it comes to security, in France, 41 percent disagree. That’s more than three times the global average of 12 percent. Seven of the least confident countries are in Europe and eastern Europe.
Bangladesh already has one of the most active immunization programmes in the world. They use a lot of community participation to reach all parts of the country. The most important thing is to work with trusted community members and others who provide information and advice.
Their campaign emphasizes the protection of children from disease; Once, the emblem was an umbrella covering everyone. Now it’s a circle with babies and even stamps! The public has seen a huge impact, with a small number of children dying from disease.
In France, a series of vaccine controversies have eroded trust in recent years. Some people suspect that some vaccines can have side effects, and even if safety studies show no link, there are persistent worries and anxieties. There is also fundamental mistrust within the government [about how to handle these disputes].
Do developing countries lack confidence in vaccine safety?
One of the things we’ve seen in [some countries] is that people with the lowest levels of education have confidence in the safety of vaccines. In some elite circles in poor countries, people say, “these vaccines are for poor children, and we don’t need to take risks for potential side effects.”
It seems that such parents are more anxious about the risk of side effects than the risk of a recurrence of a disease that might be prevented by vaccination. Is it true?
They did not weigh the risk of the disease, and did not benefit from it. They believe the risk of the disease is small and remote, not imminent. The risk of side effects seems to be closer and cause anxiety.
Can more education and information help eliminate these anxieties?
Education is not enough. When people doubt the safety of vaccines, they go online, and their anxiety may be reinforced by misinformation. I don’t just blame it on the Internet, but I think it contributes to it.
Are there any security concerns related to religious beliefs?
Religion is not a factor in every country. For example, in a state of their [is part of the majority of people], muslims than more trust in a Muslim minority national government and the government may recommend or provide the safety of the vaccine, don’t trust the government, because of the lack of confidence in vaccines. Regardless of your religious beliefs, the level of confidence varies from country to country.
Government confidence still seems to be a factor. What does this do?
Putting your faith in vaccination is like trusting the government’s pulse. [immunization] is the only health intervention I can think of, absolutely global, from the richest countries to the poorest countries, and it is embedded in government decision-making.
One might ask: what is the motivation of health care providers for vaccines? Do I trust them, are they interested in my children and my own health, or do they want to make money, or is there another motive I don’t know? Did they make this decision for political reasons or for the health of the people and the public?
Therefore, distrust of government may exacerbate the lack of confidence in vaccine safety.