The World Health Organisation is known for taking health pretty seriously, so when it puts out its list of ten major threats to global health in 2019, you better believe there’s some really bad news on it. No doubt all ten are frighteningly deadly scourges, but surely the most depressing item is “vaccine hesitancy”.
Yes, the WHO has officially declared that anti-vaxxers aren’t just irritating nutjobs on Facebook, but an actual threat to millions of lives around the world. And the evidence backs them up, as the fashion for parents to refuse to vaccinate their children based on discredited pseudoscience and the blitherings of halfwitted Instagram influencers has raised the spectre of the progress made worldwide in preventing diseases being rolled back.
It’s estimated that the 2-3 million lives saved every year by vaccination could be up to 4.5 million if access to vaccination improved, yet there are still myriad ignoramuses insisting that the greatest leap forward in public health in history is something that will harm their precious little angels.
Anti-vaccine sentiment has seen measles infections increase 30 per cent globally, as the disease returns with a vengeance in many countries where it had nearly been eradicated. Other diseases, like influenza and HPV, could also see a surge if anti-vaxxers get their way.
The WHO is working tirelessly to increase access to vaccines. Why not give them a hand by, firstly, getting your own kids jabbed, and secondly, spreading the word that vaccines have been proven safe and effective and anyone saying otherwise is a complete wanker?