Salzburg Global Fellows Call for New Efforts to Promote Vaccination Acceptance




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May 29, 2019
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Salzburg Global Fellows Call for New Efforts to Promote Vaccination Acceptance

Principal authors of Salzburg Statement will create International Working Group on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions Salzburg Global Fellows have backed a new challenge to revitalize vaccination acceptance around the world

Salzburg Global Fellows today issued a sweeping new challenge to revitalize vaccination acceptance around the world.

The Salzburg Statement on Vaccination Acceptance aims to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases, including childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella. 

The Statement has already been endorsed by more than 50 public health leaders from Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Americas. It asserts an “unwavering commitment to universal childhood vaccination” and pledges to “support the development, testing, implementation and evaluation of new, effective, and fact-based communications programs” that will help parents, community and government leaders make appropriate decisions on childhood immunization, while assuring a continuous and affordable supply of needed vaccines.     

John Lotherington, program director at Salzburg Global Seminar responsible for the Health and Health Care Innovation multi-year series, said, “Vaccine hesitancy, and the misinformation which fuels it, threatens lives around the world. This Statement is a vital call-out to stakeholders to do all they can to support parents in making the best decision to protect the health of their children and communities everywhere.”

Scott Ratzan, MD, a public health physician who is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Salzburg Global Fellow, said, “This Statement represents the consensus of a group of independent leaders in public health, law, and medicine who are deeply concerned by the growing threat of hesitancy of parents to vaccinate their children against preventable infectious diseases. 

“When the World Health Organization (WHO) declares vaccine hesitancy to be one of this year’s ten greatest global threats to human health, it is time to take the opponents of vaccination very seriously. The erosion of parental trust can have long-lasting harm for public health. We must respond with greater creativity, purpose, and generosity of spirit and use multi-sectoral approaches to address this issue.”

New International Working Group Announced

To address these growing global risks, the lead authors of the Salzburg Statement have created an International Working Group on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions (IWG) to advocate for, and help develop, new approaches to managing vaccine hesitancy.  

Founding IWG member Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University Law Professor and Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, explained that, “The resurgence of potentially life-threatening diseases like measles, which was 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.”

The International Working Group’s founding members include:

  • Barry R. Bloom Ph.D., Professor and Dean Emeritus, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Ayman El-Mohandes, MD, MPH, Dean, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
  • Jonathan Fielding, MD, MPH, MPA, Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management and Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, UCLA
  • Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, University Professor, Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law, Georgetown University
  • James G. Hodge, JD LLM, Professor of Public Health Law and Ethics, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
  • Peter Hotez, MD, Ph.D. Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Ann Kurth, Ph.D., RN, MPH, Dean and Professor, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Heidi J. Larson, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Joanna Nurse, BMed, MPH, MSc, Ph.D., Professor of Planetary Health, Southampton University
  • Saad B. Omer, MBBS, MPH, Ph.D., William H. Foege Professor of Global Health, Professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics, Emory University
  • Walter A. Orenstein, MD, DSc (Hon), Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Global Health and Epidemiology, Emory University
  • Kenneth H. Rabin, Ph.D., Health Communications Consultant and Special Projects Editor, Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives
  • Scott C. Ratzan, MD, MPA, MA, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, Senior Scholar, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives
  • Daniel Salmon, Ph.D., MPH, Professor and Director, Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Download the Salzburg Statement on Vaccination Acceptance