The World Health Organization has listed people who decide not to vaccinate as one of 10 global health threats they plan to monitor and address in 2019. On their website, the WHO said vaccine hesitancy “threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.” It said vaccines already prevent 2 to 3 million deaths per year, a number that could go up by an additional 1.5 million if global access to vaccinations was improved.
The WHO highlighted the dangers anti-vaxxers pose, noting the 30 percent increase in measles cases worldwide. While the WHO said that not all of these cases were a result of vaccine hesitancy, they said that the disease has seen a resurgence in several countries where it was close to being eliminated.
“The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex; a vaccines advisory group to WHO identified complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy,” the WHO said. “Health workers, especially those in communities, remain the most trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions, and they must be supported to provide trusted, credible information on vaccines.”