An international group of public health scientists have launched a new statement challenging anti-vaxxers and inaccurate information on childhood vaccination.
The Salzburg Statement on Vaccination Acceptance published in the Journal of Health Communication recommends ways to combat the global fall in childhood vaccination fuelled by the movement of anti-vaxxers. The statement has pledged to “support the development of new, effective and fact-based communications programs” for decision making on childhood immunisation. It has been endorsed by over 60 public health leaders from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
Challenging inaccurate information on childhood vaccination
The international group of public health scientists say in their statement that social media organisations and search engines should do more to prevent the spread of inaccurate information on childhood vaccination and governments should support mandatory immunisation.
Dr. Scott Ratzan, founding editor of the Journal of Health Communication and founder of the International Working Group (IWG) on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions, said: “We are alarmed that the WHO this year declared vaccine hesitancy a top-ten international public health problem. This is a man-made, dangerous and wholly unnecessary crisis. We intend to keep up a steady drumbeat of accurate vaccine communications until the traditional public consensus in support of childhood immunisation is restored.”
Enabling parental decisions on life-threatening diseases
Prof. Lawrence Gostin, Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law and co-director of the IWG, added: “The resurgence of potentially life-threatening diseases like measles, which the US Centers for Disease Control declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, undermines the integrity of childhood protections that thousands of dedicated scientists, doctors, and public health officials spent the better part of the last century putting in place.”
“Parents do have rights to make informed decisions about vaccinating their children, but they do not have the right to place their children, or other children, at risk of a serious infectious disease. We need to do a far better job of reaching out to vaccine-hesitant parents.”