Vaccine trust and the limits of information

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Science  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6305, pp. 1207-1208
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah6190

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Over the past decade, there has been growing recognition and increasing research around the phenomenon of vaccine reluctance and refusal (1, 2). More recently, there has been a flurry of articles on what is being referred to as “vaccine hesitancy,” depolarizing the earlier characterization of individuals or groups as being outright pro- or antivaccine, and instead recognizing the liminal state between becoming aware of, and deciding whether or not to accept, vaccination. Episodes of waning public confidence around vaccines have become so global that the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization convened a working group (3) to better understand and recommend actions to address this growing challenge of vaccine hesitancy, which the group defined as “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of vaccination services.” Indeed, vaccine hesitancy is complex and context specific (4). How can we better understand the circumstances that influence this state to ensure more effective uptake of vaccines and secure public health?