Giving Compass' Take:

• Wellcome Trust offers key recommendations for increasing vaccine uptake around the world.

• In what ways might "vaccine hesitancy" be misunderstood? Why are local partnerships an important part of successful vaccine distribution plans?

• Read about vaccine hesitancy.

Every year, 1.5 million people lose their lives to diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination. Now, Covid-19 is causing further disruption to immunisation services across the world, placing 80 million children at further risk of diseases that could have been prevented. Here are four strategies for addressing these disruptions and bolstering vaccine uptake worldwide.

1. Remove the practical barriers to vaccination and build resilient immunisation systems 

Poor availability of and access to immunisation services are still the biggest barriers for vaccination worldwide – both for the most vulnerable who lack access to basic healthcare services, and in areas where vaccines are available but not convenient.  Simple solutions can have a huge impact. For example, phone call reminders can increase vaccination appointments by 18%.

2. Change the way we talk about ‘vaccine hesitancy’ 

This phrase is easily misinterpreted. It can overemphasise the threat posed by low vaccine confidence and distract from larger issues such as access to immunisation. Instead, it’s important to be specific about the different barriers that stop people getting vaccinated and what can be done to remove them, avoiding tactics like myth-busting and focusing on amplifying positive and accurate information.

3. Strengthen the voices of healthcare workers in presenting vaccination as a social norm  

Some of the most powerful and trustworthy voices for increasing vaccine uptake are healthcare workers. They must have the latest evidence-based tools and guidance to feel confident in presenting vaccination as normal and expected.

4. Address the research gap 

Most available research relies on evidence from high-income settings. Future research should prioritise understanding what works to improve vaccination rates in different countries and why, with a focus on improving the evidence base for low-and middle-income countries.