Communicating the importance of new vaccine introduction in Kyrgyzstan
A worrying trend has emerged in Kyrgyzstan in recent years: public distrust of vaccines is growing as unfounded rumours of adverse events spread unchecked. The driving forces of this trend include negative media coverage, limited availability of official information on immunization and increasing popularity of certain anti-immunization religious leaders.
Within this context, two new vaccines will be introduced into the routine immunization schedule in 2015: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).
At the request of the Kyrgyz immunization programme, a WHO mission was conducted in October 2014 to help plan the introduction of the new vaccines, including development of a detailed plan of action for communication and advocacy.
While experience shows that new vaccine introductions can fuel negative debate on immunization, this event must also be seen as an opportunity to strengthen the immunization programme’s communication activities and to address the growing public hesitancy and resistance towards immunization.
As an outcome of the mission, a detailed report and recommendations were developed. These will serve as the starting point for increased communication and information activities, including the establishment of a dedicated website on immunization, as well as training and other capacity building activities.
Vaccine review mission methodology
The review mission along with similar missions conducted in the Republic of Moldova and planned for Montenegro will serve as an opportunity for WHO/Europe to develop a standard and methodology for vaccine communication reviews for future application and consideration by other WHO Regional Offices.