Industry Stresses Importance of Tackling Vaccine Hesitancy

August 23, 2019

ABPI has issued a statement of support in response to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister’s recent order of urgent action to boost the numbers of children receiving vaccinations.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has issued a statement of support in response to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister’s recent order of urgent action to boost the numbers of children receiving vaccinations.

Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, has ordered the urgent action, which includes several measures aimed at improving vaccination rates, as a result of the UK losing its ‘measles-free’ status with the World Health Organization (WHO). “The UK’s vaccination program for MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] was so successful that in 2017 WHO declared that the UK had eliminated measles,” said Sheuli Porkess, executive director at ABPI. “So, the fact that the UK has lost its ‘measles free’ status is disappointing. One reason for this is people not getting the second dose of the vaccine.”

According to government figures, only 87% of children in the UK are receiving the second dose of the MMR vaccine. Johnson has specified that he wishes this figure to be increased to 95% for both MMR vaccine doses, an aim that is supported by ABPI.

In her blog, Porkess emphasized the successes of vaccines over the years, which are wider ranging than simply dealing with measles. Giving some examples, she highlighted the decline in rates of patients suffering from meningococcal disease, rotavirus infections, and cervical cancer that have occurred as a result of the meningococcal B vaccination, rotavirus vaccination, and human papillomavirus vaccine programs implemented within the country.

“So, tackling hesitancy about using vaccines and addressing misinformation needs to be a priority so that the next generation of vaccines can have the same impact,” Porkess added. “Vaccines are set to help the NHS tackle some of the biggest public health challenges it faces over the next decade: tackling antimicrobial resistance by preventing infections before they start, preparing for health emergencies such as Ebola outbreaks, helping care for an ageing population, and keeping people healthy from infections like flu. Our message is simple: Vaccines work. And it’s vital that we get this message to every community in the UK so that we can protect public health now and into the future.”

Source: ABPI