Sustaining Immunization Programs, Eliminating Measles Requires Governments To Regain Public Trust
Financial Times: To wipe out measles, governments must regain social trust
Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
“…This week marks 20 years since Andrew Wakefield published his faulty research linking the measles, mumps, and rubella, or MMR, vaccine to autism, sparking a public panic. … [T]he [recent] measles outbreaks in Europe cannot be blamed on the autism rumor alone. Reluctance and refusal to vaccinate reflects deeper issues around public trust in government, anger about vaccine mandates, and resistance to medical treatments that are perceived as ‘not natural.’ … Governments are at the heart of every element of vaccination policy, from regulation of safety controls to approving immunization schedules. So gaining public trust will not only be key to the sustainability of routine immunization programs, but especially critical in the face of epidemic threats. … The long cherished dream of eliminating measles is not an impossible task. Every country that achieved the goal would also demonstrate the strength of its citizens’ trust — a measure of its ability to manage future threats” (2/28).