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Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) in a report held that Vaccine hesitancy is among the top 10 threats to global health in 2019.

WHO defines Vaccine hesitancy as a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services. Vaccine hesitancy has been reported in more than 90% of countries in the world.

Instances of Vaccine Hesitancy

  • Globally nearly 4,24,000 children have confirmed measles in 2019, as against a figure of 1,73,000 in the whole of 2018.
  • In India, poor communities of Uttar Pradesh was reported to have taken five times low uptake of oral polio vaccine in the early 2000s.

Reasons for Vaccine Hesitancy

The main issue with Vaccine hesitancy is misinformation.

  • Religious propaganda that the vaccine may contain microbes, chemicals and animal-derived products which is forbidden by religious laws.
  • Social media is used in stirring fear in people by falsely blaming vaccines for unrelated diseases is the bedrock of the Vaccine hesitancy all across the globe.
  • For example, recently some sections in India are refraining from the polio vaccine. This is due to the misconception that the polio vaccine caused illness, infertility and was ineffective.
  • Vaccine-derived diseases: Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) contains weakened but live poliovirus. This virus from the vaccine is excreted by immunized children which can move from one person to another.
  • This allows the virus to stick around and mutate to a more virulent form, raising the threat of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV).
  • Inconvenience in accessing vaccines is also the leading cause of Vaccine hesitancy
March 2024