Tackling misinformation & building trust to achieve universal health coverage: A UN high-level event to champion children’s right to immunization

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

 

Tackling misinformation & building trust to achieve universal health coverage: A UN high-level event to champion children’s right to immunization
[UN Web TV [1:16: 12]
28 Jun 2019 –  UNICEF and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations are holding a high-level event to bring together decision makers, the global health community, governments, civil society actors, and the private sector, including technology companies to take action in combating misinformation on vaccination, building trust and confidence on vaccines and improving quality of care to ensure children worldwide have access to vaccination. This will be the first event of its kind, focusing on misinformation and vaccination, to take place at the UN.

Over the last three decades, the world has seen significant improvements in health and well- being of children.  Access to vaccination has contributed to a dramatic decrease in under-five deaths. The world is on the brink of eradicating deadly diseases that were, until recently, affecting millions of children. But more important challenges remain. Despite clear evidence around the power of vaccines to save lives and control disease, millions of young children around the world are missing out, putting them and their communities at risk of diseases and deadly outbreaks.   Access to quality primary health care, including immunization, which is critical to achieving Universal Health Coverage, is greatly undermined by weak health systems, poverty and conflict.

New challenges are also emerging. A combination of complacency and skepticism on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, fueled by the proliferation of online misinformation, is increasing public uncertainty about the necessity and importance of immunization, threatening gains made so far.

 

Objectives of the event
:: Build commitment and leadership by countries to acknowledge that despite considerable progress in increasing global vaccine coverage, some countries struggle to provide quality immunization services and affordable vaccines. Countries need to invest domestic resources and provide political commitment to invest in immunization, an entry point to strengthen primary health care, which is central to ensuring universal health coverage.

:: Provide a platform for informed dialogue on ways to address stagnation and reverse declining vaccination rates, build broad-based public trust and demand for immunization, counter misinformation and misunderstandings about vaccine effectiveness and safety, and reinvigorate global efforts to achieve SDG 3.8’s target of access to “safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

:: Provide a platform for informed dialogue on ways to address stagnation and reverse declining vaccination rates, build broad-based public trust and demand for immunization, counter misinformation and misunderstandings about vaccine effectiveness and safety, and reinvigorate global efforts to achieve SDG 3.8’s target of access to “safe, effective, quality and
affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.”

vaccines for all.
Remarks by Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, at the opening of a UN high-level event to tackle misinformation and champion children’s right to immunization, New York,
01/07/2019 Press Release
[Excerpt]
“…As a global community, we need new tactics to build public trust in vaccines and break down not only the barriers of hesitancy, but of availability, cost and access.

We call on governments and donors to invest in quality health systems that deliver quality and affordable immunizations to all children. No matter who they are or where they live. This includes support for health professionals and community workers to give concerned parents accurate information about why vaccines work, and why they’re so important.

We call on technology companies — like the ones represented here today — to do more to promote credible, quality and scientifically proven content about vaccines. This could include modifying search and recommendation algorithms to combat misinformation, and prioritize true, verified information at the top of any search result. Let’s work on this together.

And we call on all parents, everywhere, to vaccinate their children.

UNICEF’s own experience shows that we can make a difference across all these areas. In the Philippines, we worked closely with the government to ensure that vaccination services reach all children. We’re also running “Community for Immunity” — a social media campaign to encourage parents to vaccinate their children using scientifically accurate information on measles.

The result? The measles outbreak is now contained, with 30 per cent fewer cases by May of this year compared to the same period in 2018.

The lesson is clear. If we combine stronger programmes and greater access to vaccines with scientifically accurate information to build trust, we can break down the many barriers between children and the vaccinations they need and deserve.

And along the way, we strengthen basic health services in the communities that most need these improvements. A key step in our goal of universal health coverage — in which every person, no matter where they live, has access to the primary health services they need. Including immunizations.

Vaccines work. But that doesn’t mean that our work is over.

Let’s continue improving access to these lifesaving vaccinations. Everywhere. Let’s push back against the rising tide of misinformation and mistrust. Let’s make sure we leave no one behind.”