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WHO creates manual to deal with vaccine critics, adverse effects

Mike Campbell

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a manual instructing governments on how to stem criticism over vaccines.

The step-by-step guide tells federal agencies how to explain emerging data and adverse effects to maintain vaccine confidence.

“This manual was developed to support countries in effectively responding to events which may erode the public’s trust in vaccines and the authorities that deliver them,” reads the abstract for the manual.

“It is crucial to be well prepared and have a mechanism in place to respond to vaccine-related events, which may, at any time, evolve into a crisis.”

Types of events the WHO covers include death after a vaccine, anecdotal stories on social media, critical media reports, and “new critical scientific studies.”

The guide suggests identifying key audiences so messaging can be effectively tailored. For example, audiences are divided by gender, age, and cultural or religious beliefs.

The manual gives one example of an infant dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) within 24 hours of being immunized at a local health centre.

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