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What is vaccine hesitancy?

The World Health Organization defines vaccine hesitancy as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of safe vaccines despite availability of vaccine services.”5 It is caused by complex, context specific factors that vary across time, place, and different vaccines, and is influenced by issues such as complacency, convenience, confidence, and sociodemographic contexts.6 Vaccine hesitancy may also be related to misinformation and conspiracy theories which are often spread online, including through social media.78 In addition, structural factors such as health inequalities, socioeconomic disadvantages, systemic racism, and barriers to access are key drivers of low confidence in vaccines and poor uptake.591011 The term vaccine hesitancy, although widely used, may not adequately convey these wider determinants that influence decisions to delay or refuse vaccination.

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