Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease, currently preventing 2-3 million deaths a year. This figure could increase to a further 1.5 million if global coverage of vaccinations improves.

However, the anti-vaccination movement has been growing in recent years. The World Health Organization (WHO) now list it as one of the top 10 potential threats to global health in 2019.

The dangerous implications of this growing vaccine hesitancy can be clearly seen in the Philippines. Earlier this year an outbreak of the highly contagious measles virus infected over 8,000 people. More than 130 of these died, and sadly many of them were children.

This measles outbreak arose in response to complications related to a dengue vaccination, Dengvaxia. Developed by a French drugs manufacturer, the vaccine reportedly offered protection against the potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease, Dengue Fever. In an attempt to mitigate the disease, Philippine authorities provided over 800,000 children with the vaccination in 2016. However, a year later it was revealed that this vaccination could potentially worsen the deadly disease in those who had not previously been exposed to the virus. This side effect unfortunately resulted in 14 deaths.

The immense effect that this scare has had on the country is highlighted by the rapidly decreasing immunisation rate, falling from 75% in 2016 to just 60% in 2017. This decrease makes potentially fatal outbreaks of otherwise preventable diseases ever more likely.

Unfortunately the Philippines is not the only country to experience the negative implications of the anti-vaccination movement first hand. It was recently reported that there has been a measles outbreak in Hackney, London. As a result local parents are being urged to keep their children’s vaccinations up to date.

The increasing frequency of these outbreaks across the world highlights the negative impact that vaccine hesitancy is having on a global scale. Unfortunately more and more lives will be put at risk if the anti-vaccination movement continues to grow at its current rate.

This article is the first in a two part series on the anti-vaccination movement. To read the second installment please click here.

If you are interested in learning more about protecting yourself in the event of an outbreak, then take a look at our infection prevention and control course.

Kallie Price

Kallie Price

With a background in Psychology and Literature, Kallie is the newest member of the team. She manages our online presence and is responsible for paving our way into new markets. Kallie is a keen cook and loves to try new cuisine.