A Strategy for Increasing Trust in Vaccines

A pediatrician’s experience in India could provide lessons on increasing immunization

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Naveen Thacker was working as a small-town pediatrician in Gujarat, India in the early 90s, when an outbreak of polio struck the state. Thacker—now the director of the Deep Children Hospital and Research Centre—personally treated more than 50 polio cases in just two months during the epidemic. To spread awareness about the disease and the vaccine, he created informational booklets and postcards to distribute through a network of pediatricians in the region. Thacker spent the next two decades working in the movement to end polio in India, and in 2014 the country was certified polio-free. In an essay in Scientific American, Thacker writes that the community-focused approach he used in India could help increase trust in vaccines around the world. He advocates for doctors and researchers to proactively engage with and mobilize communities to vaccinate individuals—and says that by doing so, they can defeat some of the world’s worst diseases.

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