Does Data Improve Vaccine Adherence?


What role does new research play in combating public vaccination concerns?

New data from an Israel-based team of investigators show the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) pre- and post-market evaluations of new vaccine candidates has resulted in a largely sound and efficient system of regulation.

The findings, from Noam Tau, MD, of the Sheba Medical Center Department of Diagnostic Imaging, show that just 1 FDA-approved vaccine has been pulled from the market due to early detected safety concerns since 1996—while all other instances of post-approval safety outcomes were of little to no clinical impact on patients.

This new research comes on the heels of rapid progression of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine candidates, as well as recent polls and surveys showing a polarized public interest in receiving a potential COVID-19 vaccine or not.

Could data like that from Tau’s team persuade those who are still uncertain of vaccines? It depends, Tau told Contagion®.

“The big question is whether large population cares about facts, or scientific knowledge,” he said.

Luckily, Tau said in an interview with Contagion on the findings, a large portion of the population does endorse expert recommendations on vaccines. But even he and colleagues acknowledged the growing rate of those unwilling to vaccine—a trend which he noted has resulted in the return of previously rendered diseases, including measles.

A person’s unfamiliarity with an infectious disease, as well as a growing gamut of misleading information being shared, could make the unconvinced that much harder to convince, he said.

“You tell people to vaccinate their child against a disease they have never seen, and it’s quite hard for people to understand how and why they should give a drug to their child against a ghost,” Tau explained.

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