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25 Apr 2012

Coinciding with European Immunization Week, ECDC has issued a report highlighting the importance of building trust for public health organisations in order for them to communicate effectively on immunisation.

The document aims at supporting Member States in planning and implementing communication initiatives on vaccination, by presenting an overview of the main issues that public health institutions need to consider in relation to building and maintaining trust.

In the European Union, successful vaccination programmes have led to a substantial drop in the incidence of many infectious diseases. However, recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles confirm the challenges faced by public health authorities in maintaining optimum vaccination coverage levels.

The media, particularly new and social media, provide abundant and conflicting messages about vaccines’ effects and safety causing certain groups to question the benefits of vaccination, while others seem to be more worried about the adverse effects of a vaccine than about the disease itself.

In this context, public health institutions need to find effective ways to make their voice heard- and advice followed by the public. Transparency and trust appear to be key factors, even before undertaking any communication activities.

By summarising results from recent research on the preferred and most trusted sources of health information for the public, the report provides useful insights into issues to consider when deciding how to reach specific audiences, taking into account the challenges and opportunities posed by social media for communication on immunisation.

Read report 'Communication on immunisation – building trust

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