Delivering COVID-19 Vaccines to the World, is a virtual event which sought to give a platform to a critical conversation about COVID-19 vaccine quality, safety and equity.
Immunization and vaccination experts from around the world outlined the current state of the world’s vaccination campaigns while addressing the urgent needs and concerns regarding public trust in the efficacy of vaccines; vaccine access and challenges related to misinformation. Here’s a summary of the key points:
Fighting the ‘infodemic’
The world is currently struggling with a ‘pandemic of misinformation’, how is it possible to talk about the quality and effectiveness of vaccines in a way that avoids contributing to the problem? Dr Chizoba Wonodi, Nigeria Country Director of John Hopkins IVAC, gives some insight into working with communities and sub-populations to combat misinformation/vaccine hesitancy, citing examples from Nigeria.
Building trust and vaccine efficacy
Many countries are facing difficulties promoting public trust in available vaccines largely due to discussions comparing the different efficacies. How can public trust in the quality and effectiveness of vaccines be strengthened especially as brands have different efficacy rates and different numbers of doses? Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, Nigeria Country Director of John Hopkins IVAC, points out how conversations comparing efficacy only do the general public a disservice and explains why here:
Accelerating vaccine access
There has been a stark divide between countries when it comes to vaccine access as many developing nations face major difficulties in purchasing the requisite numbers for their populations. What opportunities are there for such countries to leverage capacity for production in order to gain better access and achieve a more equitable vaccine distribution? Dr Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), weighs in on the vaccine inequities that have been laid bare in the Americas, and gives her solution to solving this crucial issue.
Community and communication
As countries across the continent are face major problems in combatting vaccine hesitancy, are there any methods in which nations could ensure clarity of message for public health campaigns? Martha Ngoe, Cold Chain Manager and Frontline Field Epidemiologist at the Ministry of Public Health in Cameroon shares her knowledge on the country’s experiences from previous immunisation campaigns and the best practices used in leveraging clear public health messaging, as well as the challenges faced globally today.