The World Vaccination Report

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The Evidence: Vaccination2019061920190622 (WS)

Vaccination is considered to be one of the 20th century’s biggest public health successes. But there is a growing reluctance in some countries, or cultures to vaccinate. In Western Europe the debate centres on the MMR vaccine, in Japan it’s the vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV) which prevents cervical cancer and in Kenya there have been claims that the tetanus vaccine makes women sterile. An outbreak of diphtheria in Indonesia in 2018 was linked to rumours that the vaccine wasn’t halal.

The Evidence looks at the factors which influence vaccine hesitancy and examines the attitudes in different countries impacting the rates of vaccination, including new data from the Wellcome Global Monitor, which gives a snapshot on whether people around the world think vaccines are safe and effective. Shaimaa Khalil looks at how people have addressed this in the past and solutions for the future.

New research reveals global attitudes to vaccination.

Vaccination: The Global Picture20190619

Measles was almost eradicated at the beginning of this century in the United States – but now it’s back. So far this year there have been 800 cases of measles, spreading through communities where vaccination rates are low from the Amish in Ohio to the sceptical parents of Vashon Island in Washington state. The mayor of New York has declared a health emergency, ordering mandatory vaccinations under threat of fines – but will such draconian measures be counter-productive?

Resistance to immunisation is not new: a defective batch of a polio vaccine in the 1950s killed 10, paralysed 200 and undermined confidence in all vaccines. This situation was echoed in a dengue vaccine scare in the Philippines which has led to more than 300 deaths from measles so far this year.

Across the world fake news, a lack of access to reliable healthcare and medical supplies, poverty, fake news from politicians and religious leaders and a mistrust of authority are all cited as reasons for vaccination numbers falling.
Conflict in the Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo mean that infectious diseases like measles and Ebola are difficult to contain. But in other African countries like Ghana and Kenya the arrival of a vaccine trial for malaria has been welcomed, so there is some good news.

And as Germany considers compulsory vaccinations because of a measles outbreak – we hear how it might be better to rely on advice from family and friends, text reminders and even ringing a gong to persuade people to vaccinate.

Presented by Claudia Hammond

Claudia Hammond reports on why some around the world refuse to vaccinate their children.