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Governments, Private Sector Must Work To Stop Vaccine Hesitancy, Spread Of Misinformation

Financial Times: Anti-vax movement must be resisted for the sake of world health
Editorial Board

“…The World Health Organization has rightly named ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. Vaccination currently prevents 2m to 3m deaths a year worldwide, the WHO estimates, and a further 1.5m lives could be saved if global vaccination rates improved. … Every country should adopt the target of a 95 percent vaccination rate for the dozen diseases for which a safe, inexpensive, and effective childhood vaccine is available. … For administrative convenience, entry to compulsory education is a sensible point to enforce childhood vaccination. … The only circumstances in which authorities anywhere should allow children to avoid vaccination is on genuine medical grounds, such as when a defective immune system would significantly raise the risk of the procedure. Besides tightly enforcing vaccination at school entry, governments must insist that social media stem the flood of scientific hoaxes and misinformation that has propelled the anti-vax movement. Facebook and YouTube have promised to remove advertising from sites that cross medically acceptable boundaries and to reduce their prominence in search results. For the sake of public health worldwide, they must be held to their word” (3/18).