Why Vaccine Confidence Matters to National Security

The CSIS-LSHTM High-Level Panel on Vaccine Confidence and Misinformation was convened jointly by the CSIS Global Health Policy Center and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Vaccine Confidence Project™ with the goal of assessing the implications of misinformation and vaccine confidence for U.S. national security within the Covid-19 context. This consensus document is the culmination of a year’s worth of consultations with a bipartisan and international group of 25 experts from public health, cybersecurity, public opinion research, and communications. The experts focused on two key questions: In what ways do vaccine hesitancy and misinformation impact national security?  And what are the concrete, feasible steps that the U.S. government, Congress, social media, industry, advocates, and community leaders should stand behind to improve Americans’ health and security?

The panel argues that vaccine confidence is essential to mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring national security, and recommends bolstering confidence-building efforts in five critical areas:

  1. Innovations in reaching diverse and underserved populations with vaccines delivered in the context of health and social services;

  2. Pledges and actions by mainstream and digital media platforms to stop the spread of misinformation and to collaborate with health providers and the scientific community to increase the availability of accurate content;

  3. Increased engagement by key social and economic sectors to empower people to make informed choices about Covid-19 vaccines;

  4. Greater executive branch coordination and action beyond the emergency; and

  5. Increased U.S. support for global immunization partners.

Read the companion digital report here.

The panel’s work is supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation.

Katherine E. Bliss
Senior Fellow and Director, Immunizations and Health Systems Resilience, Global Health Policy Center
Heidi J. Larson
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Global Health Policy Center