Building trust and responding to crisis – communicating about vaccination

Every country occasionally experiences outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases or situations in which real or perceived adverse events affect confidence in vaccination. These events place great pressure on immunization programmes, not least as regards the capacity, quality and effectiveness of communication responses.

Faced with these challenges, Member States have called for technical guidance and support from WHO/Europe on vaccine safety communications. As part of this support, WHO’s Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization programme conducts subregional and in-country training workshops to build capacity and facilitate the establishment of coordination and response mechanisms in countries.

An in-country training workshop for health authorities and partners was conducted in Bucharest, Romania, on 28 February 2017. The 12 participants represented the national immunization programme and regulatory authorities, as well as partners including the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and the professional association of family doctors.

The training focused on improving long-term trust-building as well as decision-making, response time and quality in addressing public and health worker vaccine safety-related concerns and managing media relations. It referred to the WHO/Europe publication Vaccination and trust and the accompanying library of supporting documents.