World Health Organization Declares Anti-Vaxxers Biggest Global Health Threat

Anti-vaxxers are on the list next to Ebola.

Measles vaccination
Do you need a measles booster shot? (Flickr.)

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a list of the biggest threats to the world in 2019 and anti-vaxxers made the list for the first time.

There were several Ebola outbreaks last year as well as 390 million cases of dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease.

A global increase of 30% in measles cases, leaping from just over 5,000 cases in 2016 to more than 41,000 cases in 2018, factored into the WHO’s decision to add anti-vaxxers, not just measles, to the list.

“Vaccine hesitancy– the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines, threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases,” the WHO wrote in their release. “Some countries that were close to eliminating [diseases] have seen a resurgence.”

The WHO explains why vaccinations are crucial in disease prevention: “Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease. It currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.”

Other threats to make the list are climate change, air pollution, and a global flu pandemic.

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