"Smallpox Vaccine" by CDC / Public Domain

Anti-Vaccine Movement Joins Ebola, Drug Resistance on List of Top Global Threats

Jan 17, 2019

By Rachael Rettner

A new list of top global health threats from the World Health Organization (WHO) reads like a “who’s who” of public health hazards: Pandemic flu. Ebola. Drug resistance. But tucked in this list of much-talked-about threats is one perhaps-surprising inclusion: the anti-vaccine movement.

The list, released this week, highlighted “10 of the many issues that will demand attention from WHO and health partners in 2019,” the organization said in a statement. And the anti-vaccine movement, which the list refers to as “vaccine hesitancy,” made the cut.

Vaccines prevent 2 million to 3 million deaths a year globally. However, vaccine hesitancy — defined as delays in vaccination or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services — threatens to reverse progress being made against infectious diseases, the WHO said.

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