[Recommendations] Recommendations for Reinforcing Stakeholder Cooperation to Advance Immunization and Vaccination Policy (September 13, 2022)
date : 9/13/2022
Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) has released policy recommendations entitled, “Recommendations for Reinforcing Stakeholder Cooperation to Advance Immunization and Vaccination Policy.”
Establishing immunization and vaccine policies based on life course factors was considered an important issue in the policy recommendations released previously by the HGPI in June 2021 entitled, “A Life Course Approach to Immunization and Vaccination Policy – Five Perspectives and Recommended Actions.” The HGPI brought together experts with a shared sense of need to tackle this issue and summarized their discussions. The current recommendations are a summary of that discussion, including key points regarding future initiatives. Through these recommendations, we hope that Japan’s immunization and vaccine policies will be promoted, that discussions will expand in within the industry, government, academia and civil society.
Examining the current situation surrounding immunization and vaccination policy in Japan, we see there is sufficient public understanding toward the need for vaccines and the benefits of vaccines, and that vaccinations needed to ensure good public health are being conducted with relatively high rates, including those for children. However, there are still certain vaccines for which vaccination rates have not reached target levels for many years. Notable examples of insufficient coverage include the rubella vaccine among middle-aged men and the adult pneumococcal vaccine among older adults.
Two necessary actions for effectively increasing vaccination rates among members of the public who require vaccinations will be to (1) build awareness toward vaccinations through proactive steps to provide information using various methods and (2) actively provide accurate information to enhance acceptance while preventing vaccine hesitancy caused by hearsay or discourse that has no scientific basis.
The emergency response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of broad cooperation that includes not only the national and local governments and healthcare professionals, but also researchers, employers, schools, the mass media, NPOs, and citizens, with each party acting in their own capacity. It also goes without saying that it will be important to continuously build cooperation among many stakeholders during non-emergency periods, as well.
Recognizing these circumstances, HGPI offers the following three recommendations for advancing immunization and vaccination policy more effectively through broad stakeholder cooperation during non-emergency periods.
- The Government (or other parties such as NPOs) should gather, maintain, and regularly publicize data on the results of vaccination programs in each municipality in a format that allows for comparisons.
- The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) should collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), local governments, and similar bodies to establish an environment in which educational institutions and workplaces can actively conduct awareness-raising and similar activities for immunization and vaccination policy.
- Academic societies, the administration, and the mass media should cooperate to disseminate, in an active and continuous manner, information for decreasing misunderstandings and concerns, such as by providing definitions and usage outlines for terms like “adverse event,” “adverse reaction,” “recommended vaccination,” and “obligation to endeavor (to be vaccinated).”
It is our strong hope that these recommendations are utilized in future immunization and vaccination policy to further deepen the cooperative ties among stakeholders.
■Working Group 4 “Multi-Stakeholder Engagement” Members (Titles omitted; in alphabetical order by last name (as of 2021))
Working Group Members
- Kyoko Ama (Representative, Children and Healthcare Project)
- Nobuhiko Okabe (Director, Kawasaki Institute for Health and Safety Research Institute)
- Kayo Kani (Co-representative, The Hand in Hand Committee for the Elimination of Rubella)
- Akihiko Saitoh (Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Niigata University; Vice Dean, School of Medicine, Niigata University)
- Yasuhiro Suzuki (Vice President, International University of Health and Welfare; Former Chief Medical and Global Health Officer, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare)
- Asako Nakai (Secretariat, KNOW VPD! Protect Our Children)
- Yoko Fujimoto (Member of the Board and Operating Officer, Vaccines Lead, Pfizer Japan Inc.)
- Hiroyuki Moriuchi (Professor, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University; Professor, School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nagasaki University)
- Keizo Takemi (Member, House of Councilors; Chairperson, Association for the Promotion of Improved Public Health through Vaccinations, Parliamentary Group for Vaccines and Prevention)
- Noriko Furuya (Member, House of Representatives; Acting Chairperson, Association for the Promotion of Improved Public Health through Vaccinations, Parliamentary Group for Vaccines and Prevention)