Drug Safety

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 1053–1059 | Cite as

The Globalization of Risk and Risk Perception

Why We Need a New Model of Risk Communication for Vaccines
  • Heidi Larson
  • Pauline Brocard Paterson
  • Ngozi Erondu
Review Article


Risk communication and vaccines is complex and the nature of risk perception is changing, with perceptions converging, evolving and having impacts well beyond specific geographic localities and points in time, especially when amplified through the Internet and other modes of global communication.

This article examines the globalization of risk perceptions and their impacts, including the example of measles and the globalization of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine risk perceptions, and calls for a new, more holistic model of risk assessment, risk communication and risk mitigation, embedded in an ongoing process of risk management for vaccines and immunization programmes. It envisions risk communication as an ongoing process that includes trust-building strategies hand-in-hand with operational and policy strategies needed to mitigate and manage vaccine-related risks, as well as perceptions of risk.


Measle Risk Perception Risk Communication Immunization Programme Vaccine Coverage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to prepare this manuscript. Heidi Larson has received grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and an honorarium from Pfizer for lecturing (a one-off). Pauline Brocard Paterson has worked as a Research Fellow with Heidi Larson on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant. Ngozi Erondu has no conflicts of interest to declare.

This paper is part of a theme issue co-edited by Priya Bahri, European Medicines Agency, UK, and Mira Harrison-Woolrych, New Zealand Pharmacovigilance Centre, New Zealand, and no external funding was used to support the publication of this theme issue.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Larson
    • 1
  • Pauline Brocard Paterson
    • 1
  • Ngozi Erondu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Infectious Disease EpidemiologyLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK

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