Gendered barriers to livestock vaccine uptake and their implications on Rift Valley fever control
This study (PDF) in the Vaccines Journal examined the barriers faced by men and women farmers in the uptake of livestock vaccines to inform strategies for optimizing the use of vaccines against Rift Valley fever (RVF) in East Africa. RVF is a zoonotic disease of great public health and economic importance transmitted by mosquitoes. The main method of preventing the disease is vaccination of susceptible livestock before outbreaks occur. Studies on RVF vaccine uptake and adoption levels are rare. The study has demonstrated that availability of livestock vaccines does not guarantee uptake at community level due to social, spatial, economic, and vaccine safety and efficacy barriers faced by men and women farmers. At a national level, setting up requisite guidelines on the type of vaccine to use for RVF prevention and regulations on its provision and use can influence farmer access to the vaccine. At district/county level, how veterinary departments organize vaccine delivery campaigns in terms of information dissemination, choice of vaccination points, costs of vaccines, and pre-existing relationships with community members can also determine uptake. At a community and household level, the process is influenced by intra-household relations and decision-making capacities between men and women, level of knowledge on the importance of vaccines, financial ability and willingness to pay for vaccination services, ease of accessing vaccination points, perceived vaccine side effects, and trust in vaccines and veterinary personnel, all of which can affect men and women farmers similarly or differentially depending on context. These barriers should be considered while designing vaccination strategies to enhance community uptake because vaccine uptake is a complex process which requires buy-in from men and women farmers, veterinary departments, county/district and national governments, and vaccine producers.