Opinion Piece Examines Why Belief In Vaccine Safety Is Lower In Richer Countries Than Poorer Ones

Financial Times: Why rich countries are more prone to ‘vaccine hesitancy’
Michael Skapinker, FT contributing editor and columnist on business and society and executive editor of the FT-IE Corporate Learning Alliance

“The richer countries are, the less their citizens believe that vaccines are safe. … By contrast, belief in vaccine safety is high in poorer regions. … What lies behind what [a recent Wellcome report] calls ‘vaccine hesitancy’ and why is it so much higher in some countries than others? The report says that the rise of social media has prompted what UNICEF calls a ‘real infection of misinformation.’ This may explain why richer countries, more connected to the internet and social media, have higher levels of opposition to vaccination. But some of the most notorious spikes in anti-vaccination sentiment predate the rise of social media. … Governments are trying to tackle the issue. Some authorities have decided to exclude unvaccinated children from school. … Some support these moves because they protect children from diseases and because the unvaccinated are a threat to those too young or ill to be vaccinated themselves. But it doesn’t change minds or win the argument. That requires persistent persuasion and pointing to how dangerous these diseases can be, something people in poorer countries, living more perilous lives, appear to find easier to understand” (6/25).

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