On 24 April the APPG Vaccinations for All kicked off this years World Immunisation Week by hosting an event in the House of Commons to discuss vaccine hesitancy and its impact on public health.

The event included insightful discussion and presentations from an expert panel hosted by APPG Chair Dr Philippa Whitford MP. Vaccine hesitancy is defined as the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of vaccination services. Helen Bedford, Professor of Children’s Health at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and a Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Health Promotion Committee, began proceedings by discussing the current trends in the UK leading to vaccine hesitancy, noting that well informed, confident, and competent, health care professionals are an important asset to maintain public confidence in vaccines.

“Approximately 1 in 5 of all deaths among children under five can be prevented by vaccines”

Sebastian Meaney, Head of UK Strategy at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,continued by stating Gavi’s mission to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. Gavi estimate that they will have saved ten million lives by the end of 2018. Sebastian gave four key ways to reduce vaccine-hesitancy, by ensuring that parents and caregivers value immunisation; trust the safety and efficacy of vaccines; have confidence in the quality and reliability if the services provided; and are able to seek out immunisation and complete the schedule.

Finally, the audience heard from Dr Pauline Paterson, Co-director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.The Vaccine Confidence Project conduct global research on vaccine confidence, examining local and global dynamics which influence vaccine decision-making. Speaking specifically of the HPV vaccine, Dr Paterson showed the local differences in confidence and uptake.

“Healthcare providers remain the most trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions”

The event closed with a lively question and answer session. Thank you to all those who spoke, attended and participated.

Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Chair of the APPG Vaccinations for All

Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the International Development Committee

Baroness Greengross

Sir Paul Beresford MP