LSHTM to play leading role in first ever Global Vaccine Confidence Summit

Convened by UK Government the Summit aims to tackle misinformation and support confidence in COVID-19 vaccines around the world
Salisbury Cathedral Vaccine Centre. Credit: Ash Mills

The UK Government has convened a virtual Global Vaccine Confidence Summit on June 2nd, in an effort to drive vaccine uptake in the fight against the COVID-19.

The event will bring together experts in the public and private sector, and include speakers Professor Heidi Larson, Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Further international speakers to be announced on G7 social channels in the coming weeks.

They will discuss ways the governments, civil society and private sector – including social media companies – can tackle vaccine misinformation and amplify public health messages to improve vaccine confidence.

Professor Heidi Larson said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in the first Global Vaccine Confidence Summit. I know through my own work leading the Vaccine Confidence Project that no single government, academic institution or organisation can tackle this challenge alone.

“To ensure the high levels of vaccine uptake needed to help end this pandemic, we need true cross-sectoral input to build trust across the various relationships – from scientists and health authorities to business partners and communities.

“As we look ahead to preparedness for future pandemics, now is the time to think about building foundational trust to support vaccine confidence for the future.”

Misinformation continues to pose one of the biggest threats to global recovery from the pandemic by damaging perceptions of the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines. The UK is working throughout its G7 Presidency this year to improve access to coronavirus vaccines, treatments and tests around the world, and vaccine confidence is a key part of that.

Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Vaccine Deployment at the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said: “Vaccines are the route out of the pandemic, and nobody is safe until we’re all safe.

“This UK-hosted Summit is a significant opportunity for G7 countries to come together with partners across the world to take action to maintain high levels of trust in vaccines and those that provide them.

“The monumental vaccination programme in the UK will start us on the road to building back better from Covid-19 and we must work collectively to ensure people across the world can reclaim their lives and livelihoods.”

Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture at the UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “In the UK we have mounted a major public information campaign to arm people with the truth about vaccines in response to a rising tide of falsehoods online. We’ve worked closely with social media companies to identify, remove and respond to this dangerous disinformation. We know these are challenges faced across the globe and we look forward to discussing our approach with our G7 partners and like-minded countries.”

Wendy Morton, Minister for Global Health at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “Global equitable access to coronavirus vaccines is key to eliminating the threat of the virus in the UK as well as overseas. That’s why the UK is one of the largest country donors to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, helping to make vaccinations available to all.

“The Global Vaccine Confidence Summit is an opportunity for the international community to build trust in vaccines, as these are key to a global recovery. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

The Summit will enable global partners to focus their efforts on vaccine confidence as a key driver of vaccine uptake; the role that insight and behavioural science can play in addressing the threat of health misinformation; and how global collaboration can deliver trustworthy communications.  

The Global Vaccine Confidence Summit will be held virtually on Wednesday 2 June.

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