Vaccine Hesitancy Among Ten Threats to Global Health


Photo Credits: Medical News Today

The World Health Organization (WHO) named ten threats to global health in 2019 — the world is facing multiple health challenges. These range from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and diphtheria, increasing reports of drug-resistant pathogens, growing rates of obesity and physical inactivity to the health impacts of environmental pollution and climate change and multiple humanitarian crises.

The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex; a vaccines advisory group to WHO identified complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy. Health workers, especially those in communities, remain the most trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions, and they must be supported to provide trusted, credible information on vaccines.

The biggest opponents of the vaccine among celebrities are Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy, Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump. For instance, Jenny McCarthy was an anti-vaxxer before it was popular. It is very dangerous to spread misinformation, especially because there are people who believe in all sorts of

information if a celebrity says it. The proof for that is that there’s low vaccination rates despite having plenty of availability in the United States.

Jenny McCarthy's public presence and vocal activism on the vaccination-autism controversy led to her being awarded the (JREF) James Randi Educational Foundation's Pigasus Award in 2008; which is a tongue-in-cheek award granted for contributions to pseudoscience for the "Performer Who Has Fooled the Greatest Number of People with the Least Amount of Effort." Randi stated in a video on the JREF's website that he did sympathize with the plight of McCarthy and her child, but admonished her for using her public presence in a way that may discourage parents from having their own children vaccinated.

The WHO claims that vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease — it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.

Measles, for example, has seen a 30% increase in cases globally. The reasons for this rise are complex, and not all of these cases are due to vaccine hesitancy. However, some countries that were close to eliminating the disease have seen a resurgence.

The bottom line - Homo homini lupus est.

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