Anti-vax movement listed as world health threat by global body


The anti-vax movement’s influence on slowing vaccination rates has been labelled as a threat to global health in 2019 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Alongside air pollution and climate change, global influenza pandemic and dengue, the organisation said “vaccine hesitancy threatens to reverse progress in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases”. 

WHO defines vaccine hesitancy as delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services.

It said vaccinations prevent two to three million deaths a year and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.

The World Health Organisation has labelled the choice not to vaccinate as one of ten global health threats. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

“Measles, for example, has seen a 30 per cent increase in cases globally,” WHO said.  

“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.”  

WHO’s top 10 threats to global health in 2019 

  • Air pollution and climate change
  • Noncommunicable diseases
  • Global influenza pandemic
  • Fragile and vulnerable settings
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Ebola and other high-threat pathogens
  • Weak primary health care
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Dengue
  • HIV
WHO said vaccination currently prevents two to three million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

The organisation added it’s unsure why people choose not to vaccinate but identified “complacency”, “inconvenience” and “a lack of confidence”.

WHO said it planned to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide via HPV vaccine in 2019.

Two anti-vaccination billboards emerged in Perth in August prompting calls from WA Health Minister Roger Cook to have them torn down.

“These people are pedalling lies and they must be stopped,” Mr Cook said.

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