National
WHO hits back at anti-vaccine deniers
Publish Date: May 06, 2014
WHO hits back at anti-vaccine deniers
A boy receives a polio immunisation vaccine
  • mail
  • img
newvision

GENEVA - The World Health Organization has hit back against vaccine deniers who claim that immunisation is pointless, risky and that the body is better off fighting disease unaided.

"The impact of vaccines on people's lives is truly one of the best things that one could see out there," said Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, head of the UN health agency's immunisation and vaccines division.

Opposition to routine vaccination of children against contagious diseases such as measles and whooping cough has been on the rise in recent years, notably in the United States and Britain.

A hardline minority disputes the necessity of vaccination outright, while doubters focus on fears such as the alleged links between measles vaccines and autism, rejected by the overwhelming majority of scientists.

"We're trying hard to contain and reverse the trend," Okwo-Bele told reporters.

"We have a huge proportion of people who believe in vaccines. They need to help us convey the messages," he added.

The total or near-complete disappearance of many killer or crippling diseases in rich nations has bred complacency, according to the WHO.

"The important thing about complacency is that the number of susceptible people who resist or reject facts and information will accumulate, and the disease will come back, as you're seeing in the United States with measles and whooping cough, which are terrible diseases," said WHO immunisation expert Tracey Goodman.

"It's a tragedy that could be avoided," she said.

Just because a disease seems long gone, there is no reason to rein in vaccination against it, according to the WHO.

"All of this needs sustainability. For polio, it's not because your country has been polio-free for 10 or 15 years that there is no risk, so long as the disease has not been completely wiped out worldwide," said Okwo-Bele.

Rolling back vaccination in some countries also undermines the global fight against disease, the WHO warned.

"When we look at the number of people being vaccinated each year, for childhood vaccination we're seeing close to 85 percent being vaccinated, so this is still really good," Okwo-Bele said, underlining that up to three million lives are saved as a result.

"But each new cohort must be vaccinated. We will reap the full benefits of vaccines only if all individuals in all communities receive the vaccines they need. And clearly this is a shared responsibility," he added.

Developing countries have seen resistance in some areas to vaccination, for example in northern Nigeria and Pakistan where polio immunisation campaigns have been dubbed a foreign conspiracy by local opponents.

And war also takes its toll, with polio rearing its head in Syria, previously free of the disease thanks to widespread immunisation.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Pakistani sexual abuse case judgment flops
The judgment of a case in which two Pakistanis’ are charged with having canal knowledge against order of nature and domestic violence has been adjourned to December 22, 2014 by the Chief magistrate Buganda Road court, Lillian Bucyana....
Daniel Kidega is new EALA Speaker
Ugandan legislator Daniel Kidega has been named the new Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, replacing Margaret Zziwa....
Archbishop raps KCCA over transfer of taxi park to Usafi
Archbishop Lwanga expresses concern over the difficult access of Nsambya Hospital following the transfer of taxis from the Old Taxi Park to Usafi Park....
Kisenyi Al shabaab terror linked case for January 5
The case of the 10 al-shabaab-linked terror suspects arrested in September in the city suburb of Kisenyi, has been pushed to January 5....
Man gets life sentence for raping, impregnating own daughter
A 54-year old man is to spend the rest of his life in prison for raping and impregnating his 14-year-old daughter....
Court rejects witnesses of ex-army commander
The General Court Martial in Makindye has rejected nine witnesses of the former commander of UPDF Battle Group 11+ in Somalia Col. Hassan Kimbowa....
Do you agree with the ban on the export of maids?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter