A list containing the largest threats to health worldwide in 2019 has been published by the World Health Organization, and up there, alongside some of the deadliest diseases on earth are antivaxxers.
It makes us wonder what exactly we should be worried about in 2019 while we look to the world that surrounds us and away from ourselves. This list is quite depressing, so now that we are at our weakest, we might as well take it all in.
The WHO lists climate change and air pollution, fragile living conditions, non-communicable diseases like heart disease and cancer, weak primary health care, high-threat pathogens like Ebola, HIV and the dengue virus, among the biggest problems of the world for the coming year.
Nonetheless, vaccine hesitancy is one threat that people can actually make a positive impact on.
Why We Must Vaccinate
The World Health Organization report explains that one extremely cost-effective way of preventing disease is vaccination. Currently, it prevents about 2 to 3 million deaths every year, and an extra 1.5 million could be prevented with the improvement of the global coverage of vaccinations.
For instance, there has been a 30% increase in measles globally. This rise is due to many complex reasons, and vaccine hesitancy is not the cause of all of these cases.
However, there has been a resurgence in some countries that had come close to completely eliminating the disease.
Insider report says that although the United States was declared free of measles in 2000, outbreaks are still ongoing. If the virus reaches communities that haven’t been vaccinated, it could spread quite easily.
Measles In New York City
17 children came down with measles in New York City last November when it spread in schools with kids that were either incompletely vaccinated or not vaccinated at all. The state is said to be suffering the worst measles outbreak it has had in decades.
The WHO report also says that people decide not to vaccinate for complex reasons; lack of confidence, inconvenience in accessing vaccines and complacency were identified as some key reasons for hesitancy by a vaccines advisory group to the WHO.
Health workers, specifically those in communities are still the most trusted influencers or advisors of decisions about vaccinations, and in order to provide credible and trusted information about vaccines, they need to be supported.