Each year, the World Health Organization publishes the top 10 threats to global health. This year, along with infectious diseases, air pollution, climate change, and HIV, anti-vaxxers were on the list.
“Vaccine hesitancy,” which WHO describes as “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines” emerged as one of the global threats for 2019, according to a report released Tuesday.
According to the organization, vaccines prevent 2-3 millions deaths yearly, and improved coverage could stop another 1.5 million deaths annually. Though the reasons people refrain from vaccinating vary, WHO mentioned lack of access, complacency, and poor confidence in vaccines as deciding factors. Other parents choose not to vaccinate because of a singular discredited ’90s study that linked vaccines to autism.
WHO gives measles—which has seen a 30 percent increase in cases worldwide—as evidence. “The reasons for this rise are complex, and not all of these cases are due to vaccine hesitancy,” said WHO. “However, some countries that were close to eliminating the disease have seen a resurgence.” In fact in 2018, measles cases hit a record high in Europe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a troubling rise in the number of young children not getting vaccinated in the United States—between 2001 and 2015 alone, the number of unvaccinated babies and toddlers has quadrupled. Though we believed measles to be eliminated in 2000, outbreaks continue to persist every year and are expected to surpass last year’s record of 100 people across 21 states.
“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,” wrote the WHO.
Here are 20 of the stupidest things anti-vaxxers are still saying, despite all evidence to the contrary:
1. This refusal:
2. This logic:
3. This immaculate conception:
4. This fried brain:
5. This solid point:
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— Ruin My Week (@RuinedWeek) December 19, 2018