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Vaccine Hesitancy as a Global Health Issue


Addressing global health issues is a complex and multifaceted task since in order to determine the most severe problems, healthcare providers need to identify relevant trends and common threats. In the context of the availability of information exchange, the measures proposed by authoritative boards may be distributed among the masses and used by medical specialists to help the population both globally and locally. As an example of a global health issue that is a significant problem in modern society, vaccine hesitancy will be considered. According to Paterson et al. (2016), in recent years, the number of individuals and groups that have a negative view of vaccination has increased, which, in turn, creates difficulties for healthcare providers. This work aims to describe this issue in the context of one of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) offered by the United Nations. Also, the impact of globalization and measures taken at local and global levels will be assessed, as well as opportunities for MSN-prepared nurses to support relevant initiatives.

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Global Health Issue

The issue of vaccine hesitancy causes severe concern among medical providers around the world due to a large number of dangerous diseases in people refusing the necessary and objectively important protection. Piltch-Loeb and DiClemente (2020) provide statistics on measles cases and note that between 1992 and 2019, 89% of all infections were associated with the lack of vaccination (p. 76). As factors influencing this global problem, Paterson et al. (2016) note not only a social trend caused by illiteracy regarding the benefits of appropriate protection but also the insufficient training of medical personnel. Some healthcare staff, including nurses, have limited knowledge about the relevance of vaccination recommendations, which, in turn, exacerbates the situation. Globalization, in this case, is an additional risk factor because the ease of communication among individual communities is the driver of false beliefs about the dangers of vaccination.

Since one of the SDGs proposed by the United Nations is the promotion of public health, this objective is consistent with the stated issue. In particular, vaccination, as a clinically relevant preventive measure, is discussed at local and global levels. According to Piltch-Loeb and DiClemente (2020), more than 44,000 medical providers are involved in child vaccination control programs (p. 76). This activity is consistent with the presented SDG and is considered an important area of ​​work.

Strategies to Promote Global Health

To address the issue under consideration, interventions to promote knowledge about the benefits of vaccination are developed by healthcare authorities. Ensuring public safety and reducing mortality are significant reasons for governments to support these essential projects. Different programs aim to address the issue of vaccination hesitancy both locally and globally, and the efforts made by healthcare providers comply with the provisions of specific preventive interventions.

Local and Global Programs

As an example of work at the local level, a project may be cited, which aims to raise the awareness of the importance of vaccination by rural people in southern Florida. Thomas et al. (2019) describe this program and note alarming results: about 80% of adults are convinced that after the introduction of vaccines, children can become infertile, which is a myth (p. 1667). At the global level, one of the major interventions is promoted in support of measles vaccines in children. As Hotez et al. (2020) note, the program is sponsored by the WHO and covers different world countries.

Similarities and Differences

The similarity of both projects lies in the fact that their key goal is to convey the importance and benefits of vaccination and explain the danger of misconceptions about its dangers. However, the Florida program involves parents as the primary target audience, while the project under the auspices of the WHO aims to engage as many children as possible. At the same time, both projects are consistent with the aforementioned SDG since their primary goal is to promote vaccination as a significant aspect of ensuring health.

Implications for Advanced Nursing Practice

MSN-prepared nurses can participate in vaccination promotion projects, both locally and globally. For instance, employees of this profile can organize meetings with the population within their communities, conduct research on the patient recognition of the value of appropriate protection, and perform other activities to identify public awareness. As a potentially valuable strategy, Hoekstra and Margolis (2016) suggest engaging with parents to strengthen their decision-making intentions regarding vaccinating children. This intervention can bring positive outcomes at the local and global levels. Studies show that people in certain regions have false beliefs about the dangers of vaccines. Thus, due to globalization, local interventions to interact with parents may cause a worldwide resonance, thereby ensuring the interest of adults in promoting their children’s health, which is the ultimate goal of such a strategy.

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Initiatives promoted both locally and globally to address the problem of vaccination hesitancy are important interventions that can alter the false perceptions of individuals and groups about the dangers of vaccines. The SDG reviewed may be achieved in many ways, and the involvement of nursing staff plays a significant role. Healthcare employees should have sufficient knowledge to promote community outreach projects, and a parent involvement strategy can be one of the potentially effective interventions. The implications of work in this direction on advanced nursing practice include providing sufficient knowledge about the importance of vaccination and educating the public about the benefits of appropriate protection.


  1. Hoekstra, S., & Margolis, L. (2016). The importance of the nursing role in parental vaccine decision making. Clinical Pediatrics, 55(5), 401-403. Web.
  2. Hotez, P. J., Nuzhath, T., & Colwell, B. (2020). Combating vaccine hesitancy and other 21st century social determinants in the global fight against measles. Current Opinion in Virology, 41, 1-7. Web.
  3. Paterson, P., Meurice, F., Stanberry, L. R., Glismann, S., Rosenthal, S. L., & Larson, H. J. (2016). Vaccine hesitancy and healthcare providers. Vaccine, 34(52), 6700-6706. Web.
  4. Piltch-Loeb, R., & DiClemente, R. (2020). The vaccine uptake continuum: Applying social science theory to shift vaccine hesitancy. Vaccines, 8(1), 76. Web.
  5. Thomas, T. L., Caldera, M., & Maurer, J. (2019). A short report: Parents HPV vaccine knowledge in rural South Florida. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 15(7-8), 1666-1671. Web.

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