Vaccine hesitancy: challenges and solutions

Published on August 31, 2023   34 min

A selection of talks on Clinical Practice

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Hello. My name is Emilie Karafillakis, I am the European Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project which stays both at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK and at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. I will be talking to you today about vaccine hesitancy, its challenges, and solutions.
Vaccine hesitancy is not a new issue. We actually know that the first group that were against vaccines were developed during the first vaccine that existed for the vaccine against smallpox, and there are report and records of vaccination sentiments that date back to this time. You can see here one of these very first images that were circulating at the time which was propaganda against vaccination. You can see there what's called the vaccination monster that was eating babies alive and they were coming out with horns on their head. This was a symbol that smallpox vaccination that was created based on cowpox was dangerous and potentially leading side-effects like babies transforming into cows. It's not new, has it changed though? Well, not really.
We know that back in the days in the 19th century with the very first vaccine against smallpox, people had opposition against vaccines that were very similar to the ones that we're seeing today, for example, there was resistance against compulsory vaccination. People did not understand exactly how vaccines work, how vaccination can protect them. There were some religious and philosophical concerns as well circulating and beliefs that vaccination could be unsafe or ineffective. Very much the same type of opposition and concern or beliefs that we see today.