Those who are opposed to vaccinations for their children, titled ‘anti-vaxxers,’ have been crowned one of the top potential hazards to global health/well being in 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
To put things to scale, this dangerous movement has joined among the damaging ranks of climate change, air pollution, HIV and even a global influenza epidemic. All were global threats on the list which was released earlier this week, on Monday the 21st.
The anti-vax push mainly comes from concerned parents. There are a plethora of reasons given by those skeptical decide to deny their child vaccinations. A vaccine advisory group branching from WHO claimed a few of the found reasons to be complacency, difficulty actually accessing vaccines and lack of confidence in said shots. Another argument made is that vaccines may overload a child’s immune system, or that natural immunity is better. Of course, there is also the movement where people tried to argue that giving your child vaccines may cause autism. Even though no proof linking the two together has been released, online spread and a lack of personal research may too have blinded some parents, and persuaded them to not act.
This menacing phenomenon has taken over the general consensus of a lot of nations’ populations, hence the ‘global health’ being threatened. One of the most notable countries on that list is the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed compelling data highlighting the fact that while coverage for most government recommended vaccines remained ‘stable and high’ in 2017 for American youth, the percentage of those who have received no vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001.
A recent study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE looks into the statistics of the increasing number of US citizens who now hold anti-vaccination views. “Since 2009, the number of ‘philosophical-belief’ vaccine non-medical exemptions has risen in 12 of the 18 states that currently allow this policy: Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.” Not only in the US, but other first world countries such as Australia too have had suffering occur due to a lack of vaccinations.
The World Health Organization describes it as ‘Vaccine hesitancy.’ They believe it “Threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases” according to the firm’s follow-up response letter/statement to the public. In a survey from may last year, only about 70% of those interviewed claimed that common vaccines, such as those for measles or polio, are ‘very important.’ This is down from 80% who took the same survey ten years prior.
For a complete list of what the WHO has found to be the most threatening things to global health, you may look at their publication here.
Works Cited: Who.int, Newsweek.com, Dailymail.co.uk