Welcome to the vaccine safety project on Wikipedia! The goal of this project is to document the existing knowledge, and find the knowledge gaps related to vaccine safety on English Wikipedia.
The World Health Organization has named vaccine hesitancy, including lack of confidence and convenience in vaccination as one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019. A report from the European Commission shows that vaccine refusal has been increasing in many of the European Union's member states, which could be due to the lack of confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
Only 79% of people around the world agree that vaccines are safe, and only 84% agree that they are effective. This lack of confidence in vaccines contribute to lower vaccination coverage and results in disease outbreaks in many countries. Disease outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles are unfortunately still widespread in many parts of the world. During 2019, there were more measles cases reported worldwide than any year since 2006, which is alarming.
Myths and misinformation surrounding vaccine safety
Although reasons for vaccine hesitancy are different in different cultures, one of the key reasons is the concern about vaccine safety. This concern is magnified and fuelled by anti-vaxxer groups, celebrity endorsements and misinformation circulated through media (including social media). It is therefore, important to provide free access to trusted, updated and evidence-based information on vaccine safety in as many languages as possible. The concerns regarding vaccines causing adverse effects and vaccines containing harmful chemicals should be addressed and robust scientific evidence should be presented for the public in plain language.
No matter how great your idea, how exciting your new treatment, or how robust your science, it must be accepted by the people who stand to benefit from it. Vaccines, for example, are one of our most powerful public health tools, and we need people to have confidence in them if they are to be most effective.
Wikipedia is one of the 15 most popular websites ranked by Alexa. Worldwide, Wikipedia's health content is one of the most frequently visited resource for healthcare on the internet. Therefore, it becomes important that reliable and updated vaccine safety information is available on Wikipedia.