Anti-Vaccine Movement: One of the Top Threats to Global Health in 2019, Claims WHO

WHO says the anti-vaccine movement is a top threat to global health. It ranks alongside climate change and air pollution as a top global threat.

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This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has considered the “Anti-Vaccine Movement” one of the top global health threats.

WHO explained anti-vaccination, the refusal or reluctance to get immunized despite the availability of vaccines, is among the currently released list of 10 global health threats for 2019. It ranks alongside climate change, air pollution, the worldwide influenza pandemic, poor primary health care, HIV, and others in the listing. WHO has assured to prioritize the organization and its partners throughout the year.

WHO said vaccine reluctance hovers to reverse the progress that has been made in tackling preventable diseases through vaccines.

The officials added that immunization is the most cost-effective way of preventing disease. It helps prevent approximately 2 to 3 million deaths per year. They further explained that nearly 1.5 million premature deaths could be prevented if people opt for getting vaccinated.

Vaccination gaps exist for a variety of reasons. In the U.S., researchers have recognized “hot spots” in some of the major cities of unvaccinated school-going children. Surprisingly, the so-called “anti-vaxxers” are reluctant to get vaccinated on philosophical or religious grounds, while some think that vaccines can cause autism spectrum disorder.

Other possible reasons for not getting vaccinated are inconvenience to access vaccination, poor access to the vaccines, and a lack of confidence in their efficacy. Last year, a medical survey released in the U.S. has found that Americans’ trust in immunization had declined. The disbelief of vaccines not working was particularly prevalent in a small group of people from insular communities.

According to the last year’s CDC report, over 100,000 children in the U.S. went unvaccinated against 14 deadly yet vaccine-preventable infections. The number of children under two years, who were not vaccinated, is gradually on the rise, claims CDC officials.

However, WHO notes that anti-vaccine is still a global threat, and disbelief about immunization has not been unique to one single country.

In 2019, WHO will take efforts to increase worldwide coverage and spread awareness about the importance of vaccination. It has pledged to promote the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and to stop the spread of wild poliovirus in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

WHO has also spoke about the non-communicable diseases that affect millions of people across the globe, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The report finds that unhealthy lifestyle habits such as poor diet, smoking, and alcohol use are collectively responsible for more than 70% (41 million) of all deaths.

Air pollution, too, would be a major setback this year. It kills nearly 7 million people every year from life-threatening diseases such as lung disease, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Also, climate change would soon be a major threat to the human population. It kills millions with heat strokes, malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria, etc.