Join forces, vaccines belong to everyone

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On July 2, 2021, at 11.30 am, had take place in live streaming the Press Conference for the presentation of the final statement of the International Roundtable on Vaccination, held on July 1, 2021.  The  Roundtable was organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life, by the World Medical Association (WMA), by the German Medical Association (GMA).

In the Press Conference: 

- H. E. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life;

Abp. Paglia said: it is important for us to join forces with all those who share our objectives, even if we have different beliefs from them about other subjects.  This framework of synergy on specific objectives that are of great current importance is what the collaboration between the World Medical Association and the Pontifical Academy for Life is based on.

 

- Dr. Ramin Parsa-Parsi, Head of Department for International Affairs, German Medical Association;

The best antidote for vaccine hesitancy is building trust, increasing transparency, and addressing communication failures. As trusted voices in the community, medical professionals play a crucial role in this scenario. By working together with the Pontifical Academy for Life, we hope to complement our efforts to generate vaccine confidence by fostering awareness and fighting the spread of myths and disinformation. Furthermore, economically or politically motivated active dissemination of false information regarding the safety and effectiveness of approved vaccines needs to be counteracted. Improving vaccine confidence is indeed an international challenge which requires international engagement, including interdisciplinary collaboration of the kind we are engaging in today.

 

-  Professor Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chair of Council, World Medical Association.

What do we have to do next: 1)    Reach underserved and underinformed communities in a combined effort of science, medicine and social multipliers such as religious communities. 2)  Fight misinformation and fake-news. 3)  Ensure solidarity. 4)  Ensure equity.

The Press Conference was in streaming: Vatican News - YouTube Channel:   https://www.youtube.com/c/VaticanNews.


Final Statement: 

World Medical Association, German Medical Association and Pontifical Academy for Life collaborate to promote vaccine equity and confront vaccine hesitancy

Millions around the world are still suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination is widely seen as a fast and effective way to control the spread of the virus and save human lives. Much as the current pandemic has brought home the importance of vaccination, it has also laid bare the great inequity of access to vaccines and the dangers posed by vaccine nationalism. While many higher-income countries had the resources to quickly sign bilateral agreements with pharmaceutical companies for promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates, this left many developing countries at a disadvantage due to financial restrictions and limitations on production capacity.

Vaccine accessibility still poses great challenges in many parts of the world, but there are also countries where vaccines are readily available but subject to skepticism and mistrust. Vaccine hesitancy is a complex issue. Some reluctance in disadvantaged communities is rooted in historical inequities, breaches of trust in medical research, negative experiences with health care and suspicion about pharmaceutical companies’ behavior focused on profit. But a more pernicious form of vaccine hesitancy is driven by unfounded and misleading claims and myths, including disinformation about side effects, which are amplified by social media and other means of enhanced communication. Adding to this complexity is the fact that vaccine hesitancy even exists in the medical community and some religious groups. Vaccine hesitancy and refusal can ultimately give rise to difficult ethical questions about the tension between individual freedom of choice and the common good.

Considered one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine, vaccines play a vital role in the prevention of infectious diseases. They have been proven to avoid millions of deaths and protect millions more from getting sick each year. But to unlock the full innovative potential of vaccines, action must be taken to overcome barriers to vaccine equity and to address the root causes of vaccine hesitancy.

Recognizing the urgency of these issues and the essential role international and cross-sectoral collaborations can play in advancing these causes, the World Medical Association (WMA), the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL ), and the German Medical Association (GMA) have joined forces to demand that all relevant stakeholders exhaust all efforts to:

•             ensure equitable global access to vaccines, which is a key prerequisite for a successful global vaccination campaign, and

•             confront vaccine hesitancy by sending a clear message about the safety and necessity of vaccines and counteracting vaccine myths and disinformation.

July 2nd, 2021