Reporting with Clarity on Vaccines and Vaccine Development
F3) Reporting with Clarity on Vaccines and Vaccine Development
One of the most striking results of the 2016 State of Vaccine Confidence study, which surveyed 65,819 individuals in 67 countries, is that in France, Pasteur’s home, 41 percent of respondents “tend to” or “strongly disagree” with the suggestion that “overall vaccines are safe” and 81 percent consider them “important for children to have.” Yet although the overall sentiment towards vaccine importance is positive across all 67 countries, in many of them (but not all), vaccines are constantly confronted with hesitancy.
Navigating the vaccine confidence gap is a challenge journalists must deal with in developed countries as well as in regions with little access to resources, either when reporting about vaccines in general or during outbreaks. In the face of ignorance or anti-vaccine activism, journalists convinced about the importance of vaccines might feel engaged in promoting vaccination.
But is this appropriate if journalists want to report with clarity about vaccines? Should they focus only on the science of vaccines with a view to educating and improving science literacy? Or is it also our job to investigate vaccination policy, doing more journalism and less science?
More than ever, journalists must put a critical eye on the field they investigate at the interface of science, industry, health and politics; on publications and press releases to avoid being fooled by hype; and on the global context of vaccination, to make sure to understand its ins and outs – for instance, all the criteria for introducing new vaccines into vaccination programs.
All these questions will be discussed during this session, with input from journalists and experts who can present an international view. The audience will be invited to exchange opinions throughout the session.