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Rising vaccination mistrust worldwide is undermining fight against deadly diseases – research

Rising vaccination mistrust worldwide is undermining fight against deadly diseases – research
Vaccination mistrust is highest in developed nations, with France the most skeptical, says new research. Public mistrust in vaccines is having a negative effect on the fight against deadly, preventable diseases, experts warn.

The Wellcome Trust conducted the biggest global study of trust in science, including vaccines, with responses from over 140,000 people in 140 countries. It revealed confidence in vaccinations is low in some parts of the world, with France having the highest percentage of such skepticism worldwide. One in three surveyed in France believe vaccinations are unsafe and 19 percent disagree that such measures are effective.

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While overall, 79 percent of those surveyed agreed that vaccines are safe, in Eastern Europe, only half of people agree that vaccinations are safe, and in Western Europe, just 59 percent agree. In Northern America, and Southern and Northern Europe, just over 70 percent agree they are safe.

Vaccines have completely eradicated smallpox and have almost eliminated diseases like polio, however other preventable diseases like measles are making a resurgence as a result of people avoiding vaccinations. Countries that were close to getting rid of measles have experienced large outbreaks recently, including the US and France.  

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In almost every region of the world, there has been a rise in cases, with a 30 percent increase in 2017 from 2016.  

“Vaccine hesitancy has the potential, at least in some places, to really hinder the very real progress the world has made in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases,”said Dr Ann Lindstrand, an expert in immunization at the World Health Organization.

Reuters reports that in France, vaccination scepticism is a result of mistrust in pharmaceutical companies, science and the government. Social media has also reportedly contributed to a rise in anti-vaxxer groups and misinformation around the world.

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