Millions around the world still suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination is widely seen as a quick and effective way to control the spread of the virus and save human lives. Just as the current pandemic has highlighted the importance of vaccination, it has also exposed the great inequality of access to vaccines and the dangers posed by vaccine nationalism.
While many high-income countries had the resources to quickly sign bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for promising vaccine candidates against COVID-19, this has put many developing countries at a disadvantage due to financial restrictions and limitations on production. production capacity.
Accessibility of vaccines still poses great challenges in many parts of the world, but there are also countries where vaccines are readily available but subject to skepticism and mistrust. Reluctance to immunize is a complex issue. A certain reluctance in disadvantaged communities is rooted in historical inequalities, breaches of trust in medical research, negative experiences with healthcare, and suspicion of profit-driven pharmaceutical company behavior. But a more pernicious form of vaccine hesitancy is driven by unfounded and misleading claims and myths, including misinformation about side effects, which are amplified by social media and other improved means of communication. Adding to this complexity is the fact that vaccine reluctance exists even in the medical community and in some religious groups. Reluctance and refusal of vaccination can ultimately give rise to difficult ethical questions about the tension between individual freedom of choice and the common good.
Considered one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine, vaccines play an essential role in the prevention of infectious diseases. They have been proven to prevent millions of deaths and protect millions more from disease every year. But to unlock the full innovation potential of vaccines, action must be taken to overcome barriers to vaccine equity and address the root causes of vaccine reluctance.
Recognizing the urgency of these problems and the essential role that international and intersectoral collaborations can play in the advancement of these causes, the World Medical Association (WMA), the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) and the Association German Medical Officer (GMA) have joined forces to demand that all relevant stakeholders exhaust all efforts to:
- ensuring equitable global access to vaccines, which is an essential precondition for a successful global immunization campaign, and
- confront vaccine hesitancy by sending a clear message about the safety and necessity of vaccines and by challenging myths and misinformation about vaccines.
Source: World Medical Association