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Evidence-based strategies to promote vaccine acceptance

02 August 2021
10 min read
Volume 32 · Issue 8


Vaccine hesitancy can undermine a vaccination programme. Alison While looks at the strategies that can be used to promote vaccination uptake

The success of a vaccination programme depends upon its coverage so that it provides herd immunity. Vaccine hesitancy has the potential to undermine a vaccine programme. Evidence suggests that some strategies are more effective in promoting vaccination uptake. Nurses should help in the promotion of vaccination uptake using evidence-based interventions and through ‘Making Every Contact Count’.

Despite a substantial majority of the UK population holding positive views about the COVID-19 vaccine (Freeman et al, 2021), the success of the UK mass vaccination programme will depend on a high uptake across the whole population. Anderson et al (2020) have set out how the extent of vaccination coverage is calculated to yield herd immunity, with the efficacy of the vaccine and duration of the immune response complicating the calculation. Another complicating factor is the mutation (antigenic drift) of the virus, which may undermine existing vaccine efficacy. The percentage of the population that must be vaccinated initially is larger than in subsequent years once population immunity is stabilised. More recently, Grant and Hunter (2021) have questioned whether it will be possible to achieve an adequate level of population COVID-19 immunity using vaccination alone, because not all the vaccines prevent asymptomatic infections. Although less infectious, these asymptomatic infections will still enable population transmission. In summary, the ability of the vaccination programme for COVID-19 to manage the disease, like other vaccination programmes for seasonal influenza, measles, polio etc, will depend on the extent of uptake by the population, and, in the case of the COVID-19 vaccination, an uptake of at least 80%, if not higher, will be required during the first year of the vaccination roll-out (Anderson et al, 2020).

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