Vaccine access and uptake

Policy Briefing

Published 20/04/2021

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This briefing note explores factors influencing the access and uptake of vaccines; the different approaches taken by public health authorities to promote vaccines; and the ethical considerations that arise in this context.

Girl getting vaccinated

Aims of vaccination programmes

Public health programmes often aim for the uptake of vaccines to be high enough that infectious diseases can be eliminated at the community level, commonly referred to as herd or community immunity. As a significant portion of a population becomes immune to an infectious disease, the risk of spread from person to person decreases, indirectly protecting those who are not immune.6 For example, after the UK introduced a vaccine against type C meningococcal disease in 1999, cases of the disease decreased by over 90% in vaccinated groups, but also by around 66% in non-vaccinated groups, as transmission was reduced.