Vatican calls on stakeholders to 'exhaust all efforts' to fight vaccine hesitancy

Vatican calls on stakeholders to 'exhaust all efforts' to fight vaccine hesitancy
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The Vatican on Friday called on stakeholders to “exhaust all efforts” to fight vaccine hesitancy and inequity.

The Vatican’s bioethics academy, the Pontifical Academy for Life, will be working with the World Medical Association and the German Medical Association to address vaccine equity and hesitancy, the groups said in a joint statement.

The statement calls on stakeholders to “exhaust all efforts” to ensure equitable vaccine access around the world, and to confront vaccine hesitancy by “sending a clear message about the safety and necessity of vaccines.”

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The groups acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic has “laid bare the great inequity of access to vaccines and the dangers posed by vaccine nationalism.”

They acknowledged that poorer countries are often left disadvantaged when wealthier nations sign major deals with pharmaceutical companies for coronavirus vaccines.

The statement also acknowledged the complexity of vaccine hesitancy. It recognized that some reluctance about vaccines are rooted in a lack of trust in medical research and negative experiences in healthcare.

The statement also said a “more pernicious form” of vaccine hesitancy is being driven by myths about the vaccines, including disinformation about side effects.

“Considered one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine, vaccines play a vital role in the prevention of infectious diseases,” the statement said. “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.”

The statement was issued after a webinar sponsored by the groups, according to The Associated Press. During a news conference, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said that the academy and the Vatican have said the vaccines are safe and ethical, AP reported.

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