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WHO announces Top Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019

20 Jan, 2019
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In its 2019 new year message, WHO has named vaccine hesitancy as one of the world’s top 10 global health threats, alongside 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, Dengue and HIV.

When you look at the list, vaccine hesitancy is directly related to most of them, with available vaccines for flu, Ebola (albeit still not registered), Dengue (with all its struggles), and HIV (in trials). The threats of fragile and vulnerable settings and weak primary health care both affect hesitancy given low confidence in the system or anxieties in conflict settings. And, as for antimicrobial resistance, we need vaccines more than ever as we are faced with antibiotics that no longer work.

While it is a stretch to relate vaccine hesitancy to air pollution and climate change, climate change will be changing disease vectors and vaccine needs, so vaccine confidence will again matter to mitigate hesitancy.

 Here is WHO’s text on  Vaccine hesitancy:
Vaccine hesitancy – the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved. 

Measles, for example, has seen a 30% increase in cases globally. 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. 
The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex; a vaccines advisory group to WHO identified complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy. Health workers, especially those in communities, remain the most trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions, and they must be supported to provide trusted, credible information on vaccines…
See full text on all ten threats
 
 
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 20th, 2019 at 9:32 am and is filed under Blog.

Literature Literature archive

S Krishnaswamy, P Lambach, ML Giles 2019 HUMAN VACCINES & IMMUNOTHERAPEUTICS VOL. 15, NO. 4, 942–950
Editorial 2019 Lancet Adolescent Health Vol 3: 281
AHviid, JVinsløv Hansen, M Frisch,, et al 2019 Ann Intern Med 170(8):513-520.

Videos Video archive

VCP Research Fellow Emilie Karafillakis comments on the anti-vaccination movement, the role of social media and the importance of rebuilding trust. 

In this video Prof Larson explains what vaccine confidence is, the team’s work, and what needs to be done to restore vaccine confidence around the world.

As part of the LSHTM Vaccine Centre podcast series to celebrate World Immunization Week Prof Heidi Larson recorded an episode with about her work and the VCP.

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The Vaccine Knowledge Project at the Oxford Vaccine Group