The World Health Organization is calling out the anti-vaccine movement as one of the top global health threats this year.
WHO named vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite available vaccines, among its recently released list of 10 global health threats for 2019. It joins air pollution and climate change, the worldwide influenza pandemic, weak primary health care and HIV in the listing, among others. WHO pledged to make them priorities for the organization and its partners throughout the year.
The organization added that vaccination is “one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease,” noting that it prevents between 2 million and 3 million deaths a year. Some 1.5 million more deaths could be avoided if the rate of vaccinations increased around the world, the group said.