Trust in Vaccines
Why It Matters


Long a cost-effective stalwart in the public health armament, vaccines have become a target for misinformation that has undermined immunization efforts in parts of the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere, contributing to dangerous and potentially lethal disease outbreaks of measles, polio and more. At the same time, in this “Decade of Vaccines,” steps have been taken to boost vaccine access in areas of the world where people live with, and die unnecessarily from, infectious illnesses that could be controlled by immunization programs. This Forum event examined the importance of immunization, the safety of vaccines, and the consequences of vaccine hesitancy.

Part of: .

Background Articles

Image Credit: Composite image: Pxlxl | and REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

  • Irfan A. Khan

    According to New York Times, The deans of twelve of the top public health universities in the United States sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday condemning the CIA’s use of a vaccine ruse during the hunt to find Osama bin Laden.
    News of a Pakistani doctor working for the CIA severely hampered public health efforts there, and may have exacerbated suspicions that health workers are spies for the West. Nine polio vaccine workers were killed in targeted attacks last month.

  • John Smith

    In regards to a point made by Professor Marie McCormick at 57:10

    Severe Influenza Among Children and Young Adults with Neurologic and Neurodevelopmental Conditions — Ohio, 2011

    “All 13 severely ill residents received 2010–11 seasonal influenza vaccine during October–November 2010”

    “Of nine severely ill residents tested, six were positive for influenza A virus infection by RIDT and one for 2009 influenza A (H1N1)* by RT-PCR. Eight of 13 (62%) severely ill residents received oseltamivir treatment; four (31%) received treatment within 48 hours of illness onset. No facility resident received oseltamivir prophylaxis until February 28, 2011. Ten hospitalizations and seven deaths occurred among the 13 severely ill residents. ”

    My question underlined that investigation of vaccines in ASD children is important in a variety of ways including making sure they are as efficacious and safe as they are in other ‘normal’ populations.

    The probable reason she has not seen ‘expression’ data is that the research has not been done, I suggest it should be.

  • Nancy Hokkanen

    Why won’t public health policymakers promote the study of vaccine adverse events for purposes of treatment and prevention? Why are databases like VAERS and the VSD simply stagnant repositories, rather than sources of actionable scientific facts? Why are vaccine injury victims left to struggle the rest of their lives while more and more infants and adults needlessly join their ranks?

  • John Smith

    At this time ASD research is at an interesting cross-roads key areas of research are focused on immune dysfunction, gastrointestinal disorders, neuroinflammation and epilepsy. As well in immune signalling pathways.

    At the same time our understandings of how varying systems within the ASD child interact is also changing — there is clear crosstalk between the immune system and neurology … but which drives which ?

    For instance in ASD children with GI dysfunction research suggests that the child’s microbiome drives neurology ie gut dysbiosis has a clear outcome on ‘regression’ in ASD. So what instigates change in the gut of ASD children would be one obvious research avenue.

    Can gut microbia instigate changes in gene expression ?

  • Karen Lajoie

    I am interested in how language barriers and trust issues come in to play when vaccinating multicultural communities.

    How can we safely inform vulnerable populations about immunizations and provide accessible care?

    How to we obtain the added health worker time necessary to meet the needs of vulnerable populations or populations with immunizations from many countries ?

    It takes a lot of time to interview clinets, educate clients and review vaccine records thoroughly to avoid over immunization. How can we be reimbursed and be staffed appropriately for this extra time?

    With recent contamination of drug supplies in the USA how do we know vaccines are being manufactured safely?

  • John Smith

    A question

    With the surprising volume of science and medical evidence that shows a large percentage of children with Autism Spectrum Disease have a range of immune system dysfunction indicators ie physiology, neurology and genetics.

    Can the panel comment on whether continuing investigation should look at how vaccines may intersect to change the trajectory of ASD development, rather than cause ?

    Listen to the answer around 57:10 in the video.

    Secondly how this scientific investigation should be presented to the general public to allay fears that we are specifically looking at a small percentage of the overall population ?

  • John Smith

    I was interested to hear Professor McCormick’s reply to my question and I’d like to clearly acknowledge that vaccines play an important part in the prevention of disease in vulnerable children with neurodevelopmental diseases and other disabilities — as well as the wider population.

    It leads to more interesting questions surrounding the science and medicine in this cohort of children.

    Simply put we should be asking, if this cohort of children is as vulnerable to infectious diseases and viruses as the research indicates, and that there is indeed a well-evidenced crosstalk between immune and nervous system then the answer to treatment and care may in fact lie in researching the outcomes of bacteria, virus or other pathogens, rather than vaccines in ASD children specifically.

    This is actually a positive aspect that may have been viewed in a negative light by the panel. We should also not confine ourselves simply to the ‘outcome’ of ASD in children but also keep in mind the varying and serious co-morbid diseases and complications in this cohort of children.

    One’s attention needs to be bought to two recent studies surrounding co-morbid conditions in ASD .

    The first by Isaac Kohane et al Center for Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School –

    and the second paper found here by Mu-Hong Chen Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan found here

    Do viruses and bacteria play a part in ASD trajectory as well as etiology I think that is becoming clearer each day, there are some elegant animal models that show a link to prenatal infection and the development of aspects of aberrant neurological outcomes in ASD, schizophrenia and depression.

  • Patricia Duran

    The best idea this forum for researchers around the world Congratulations