Monday December 10, 2018

Public mistrust of vaccines likely to cause outbreak of diseases like measles: Researchers

Europe showed the lowest level of confidence, driven largely by France where 41 percent of the population questions the safety of vaccines

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Representational Image of Scientist working on Vaccines. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
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Public mistrust of vaccines is causing the outbreak of diseases like measles, according to researchers.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London and the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health in Singapore questioned 66,000 people across 67 countries to discover their views on whether vaccines are important, safe, effective and compatible with their religious beliefs.

Lack of Confidence in Vaccines. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Vaccines. Wikimedia

People in southeast Asia showed the highest level of confidence in vaccines, with Africa second.

Yellow fever

The survey comes as a major yellow fever vaccination program is under way in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

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An outbreak of the disease has killed hundreds of people. The World Health Organization aims to vaccinate more than 15 million people in both countries.

“If everyone agrees to be vaccinated, we can eradicate yellow fever from our country,” said Mosala Mireille, one of the head doctors overseeing the program in Kinshasa.

Europe showed the lowest level of confidence, driven largely by France where 41 percent of the population questions the safety of vaccines.

Scares dent public confidence

Doctor Heidi Larson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says recent high-profile press coverage in France of vaccine scares has dented public confidence.

“Anxieties about links between Hepatitis B [vaccines] and multiple sclerosis several years ago, scientifically deemed unlinked, but still caused anxiety,” Larson said. “There still is today concerns about side effects related to the HPV vaccine, again not scientifically confirmed.”

Mistrust in France was also driven by the response to the H1N1 flu outbreak fears in 2009, when the government spent $1.4 billion on 94 million doses of the vaccine. The majority were sold off or destroyed.

Larson fears the consequences of that mistrust.

“We will get some combination of influenza strains that will be very fatal,” Larson said. “And if we have such poor compliance with a pandemic vaccine in the future, I would be very worried about that.”

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Researchers warn that decreases in confidence can lead to people refusing vaccines, which in turn can trigger disease outbreaks. But the study found a high level of global support for vaccinating children against disease. (VOA)

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  • Ayushi Gaur

    An issue to be taken seriously

Next Story

People Protesting For Climate Change Block London Bridges

About two dozen people were arrested on Monday after protesters blocked traffic.

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London
Environmental campaigners from the direct action group Rebellion demonstrate on Westminster Bridge in central London, Britain. VOA

Hundreds of protesters have turned out in central London and blocked off the capital’s main bridges to demand the government take climate change seriously.

A group called “Extinction Rebellion” encouraged sit-ins on the bridges Saturday as part of a coordinated week of action across the country.

Hundreds of protesters have turned out in central London and blocked off the capital’s main bridges to demand the government take climate change seriously.

Also Read: Climate Change’s Fight Harder Than Thought: Study

Metropolitan Police said emergency vehicles were hampered from getting across London because of the “blockade” of five bridges. The force said it had asked all protesters to congregate at Westminster Bridge where officers can facilitate lawful protest.

About two dozen people were arrested on Monday after protesters blocked traffic and glued themselves to gates outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. (VOA)