VACCINE HESITANCY: A THREAT TO VACCINE PREVENTABLE DISEASE PROGRAMS
Main Article Content
Childhood vaccination program provides one of the most cost-effective public health interventions. Vaccination prevents about 2-3 million deaths a year.1 Disease elimination and eradication programs are one of the most effective way to interrupt disease transmission, which results in reducing morbidity and mortality. After successful eradication of small pox in 19772, the world is close to achieve the goal of polio eradication. Polio eradication program has evolved since its beginning around three decades ago. However, the program has seen several challenges during this time around the globe. Hesitation to vaccinate remains one of the most important factors to determine the course of eradication program. Vaccine hesitancy is “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines”.1 Any factor affecting the public trust in vaccine safety, purity or efficacy can result in variable level of vaccine hesitancy.3-5 Vaccine hesitancy, if not addressed timely and effectively, can hamper the progress of the program and pose challenges to completion of the disease eradication and elimination programs. Vaccine hesitancy affects the coverage and has impact on overall immunity levels and it needs to be taken seriously. Among all public health interventions, immunization programs were able to investigate the details of the reasons for not vaccinating children. Probably, to our knowledge, the polio program has underwent the most in-depth exploration on the causes of reluctance to vaccinate than any other public health program. However, vaccine hesitancy is comparatively difficult to capture in routine immunization program. Vaccine hesitancy becomes more obvious during supplementary immunization campaigns as the interventions are for brief time and the time taken by community to react to intervention is short as well. While the goal of eradicating polio is near, the issues of vaccine hesitancy are still adversely affecting the global eradication of polio.
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