Research Shows A Crisis Of Confidence In Vaccination In Europe

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Research Shows A Crisis Of Confidence In Vaccination In Europe
Research Shows A Crisis Of Confidence In Vaccination In Europe

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Research shows a crisis of confidence in vaccination in Europe

A global survey of people's attitudes towards science has highlighted the magnitude of the vaccine confidence crisis in Europe. It found that only 59% of people in Western Europe and 50% in Eastern Europe considered vaccines safe. The average confidence in vaccines worldwide is 79%.

Research shows a crisis of confidence in vaccination in Europe
Research shows a crisis of confidence in vaccination in Europe

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A global survey of people's attitudes towards science has highlighted the magnitude of the vaccine confidence crisis in Europe. It found that only 59% of people in Western Europe and 50% in Eastern Europe considered vaccines safe. The average confidence in vaccines worldwide is 79%.

Globally, 84% of people admit that vaccines are effective, and 92% say their child has been vaccinated. But despite a relatively good health and education system, there is little confidence in vaccines in parts of Europe. Several countries have recently had large outbreaks of measles that spread across the continent and were linked to reluctance to get vaccinated.

Dr. Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Trust Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says social media is increasing people's mistrust. The first study on the topic, called the Wellcome Global Monitor, which surveyed 140,000 people around the world, showed a clear connection between people's trust in doctors, nurses and scientists and trust in vaccinations. It also showed that mistrust of government agencies goes hand in hand with doubts about the safety of vaccines. A recent investigation by the Guardian has highlighted links between right-wing populist politics in Europe and anti-vaccination sentiment.

According to Heidi Larson, social networks have become a major source of mistrust, and scientists find it difficult to resist the flow of disinformation, since scientists themselves are often not public people, and anti-vaccination campaigns are spread through closed groups on social networks and on closed forums. Larson also argues that sometimes an irresponsible statement is felt over the years. Gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published an article in 1998 claiming a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. It was only five years later that his article began to influence the spread of vaccine refusal, despite the refutation of this theory.

New research shows that vaccines are the most trusted in Bangladesh and Rwanda. Rwanda also has the most trust in the health sector in general (97%), while the global average is 76%.

“In developing countries, where fatal diseases like diphtheria, measles or whooping cough are more common, I have seen mothers queue for hours to make sure their baby is indeed vaccinated. Meanwhile, in richer countries, where we no longer see the dire impact that these preventable diseases can have, people are more skeptical. And that skepticism is a luxury we can afford,”said Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which vaccinates in poor countries.

In northern Europe, including the UK, people are more confident in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines than in the west and east of the continent. In Northern Europe, 73% of people believe they are safe and 84% find them effective (about the same in North America). However, only 65% ​​of Eastern Europeans believe they are effective. In Ukraine, where more than 53,000 measles cases were reported last year, this figure is only 50%.

In March, UNICEF announced that the number of measles cases worldwide is skyrocketing. The disease is highly contagious, and in developing countries it kills one in every 100 children who fall ill.

The study also showed the ambiguous attitude of people around the world to science. Half of the world's population claims to know little about science, 20% say they are deprived of the opportunity to use its achievements. 55% in France and 37% in the UK said that advances in science and technology are leading to job losses in their region.

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