On Thursday, an international coalition of public health leaders including CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) Dean Ayman El-Mohandes and Senior Scholar Scott Ratzan issued a statement asserting its commitment to vaccine acceptance around the world and to eliminating vaccine-preventable diseases, including childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella.
The Salzburg Global Fellows, made up of public health leaders from Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Americas, pledged to support the development and implementation of new fact-based communications programs to help parents, community, and government leaders make appropriate decisions on childhood immunization, while assuring a continuous and affordable supply of needed vaccines.
"This statement represents the consensus of a group of independent leaders in public health, law, and medicine who are deeply concerned by the growing threat of hesitancy of parents to vaccinate their children against preventable infectious diseases," said Dr. Ratzan.
"When the World Health Organization declares vaccine hesitancy to be one of this year's ten greatest global threats to human health, it is time to take the opponents of vaccination very seriously," he continued. "The erosion of parental trust can have long-lasting harm for public health. We must respond with greater creativity, purpose, and generosity of spirit and use multi-sectoral approaches to address this issue."
To address these growing global risks, the authors of the Salzburg Statement founded the International Working Group on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions (IWG) to advocate for, and help develop, new approaches to managing vaccine hesitancy.
CUNY SPH is committed to teaching, research and service that creates a healthier New York City and helps promote equitable, efficient and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities around the world. For more information, visit sph.cuny.edu.