Vaccine Hesitancy Represents Threat To Global Health
USA Today: Today’s skepticism of vaccines could be as big of a health threat as HIV
Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
“It might come as a surprise that vaccine hesitancy appears on the World Health Organization’s 2019 list of the top health threats, which include HIV, pandemic influenza, and antimicrobial resistance, among others. Surely, vaccine hesitancy — a voluntarily chosen human behavior — cannot be in the same category as HIV … However, if one thinks about the full context of vaccine hesitancy and what it represents, the WHO’s inclusion of this outrageous phenomenon is completely justified. … The WHO’s top-10 list also includes noncommunicable diseases … A chief reason that noncommunicable disease is a problem at all is because people are no longer dying from infectious diseases and are, hence, living long enough to develop these noncommunicable diseases. The control of infectious diseases, largely due to vaccination along with sanitation and antimicrobial therapy, gives humans the ‘luxury’ of dying from diseases of adulthood. … Today when a new vaccine is developed … it is greeted with derision and is the subject of conspiracy theories that even presidential candidates spread. … If [vaccine hesitancy] continues to spread unchallenged, it will be a willful, self-inflicted threat to human life” (2/1).