On their website, the WHO said vaccine hesitancy “threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.” It said vaccines already prevent 2 to 3 million deaths per year, a number that could go up by an additional 1.5 million if global access to vaccinations was improved.
The WHO highlighted the dangers anti-vaxxers pose, noting the 30 percent increase in measles cases worldwide. While the WHO said that not all of these cases were a result of vaccine hesitancy, they said that the disease has seen a resurgence in several countries where it was close to being eliminated.
“The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex; a vaccines advisory group to WHO identified complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy,” the WHO said. “Health workers, especially those in communities, remain the most trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions, and they must be supported to provide trusted, credible information on vaccines.”
Last October, the Center for Disease Control issued a report saying that the number of young children who aren’t getting vaccinated in the United States quadrupled between 2001 and 2015. This shift has led to significant measles outbreaks in the U.S. over the past several years, including one that reached over 100 people in 2018, per USA Today.
While studies have shown that uninsured and Medicaid-insured children are less likely to receive vaccinations, a significant number of children are not being vaccinated because their parents worry about alleged links between autism and vaccines. However, the CDC has said that there are no links between the two.