Anti-vaccine social movement threatens global health

Since 2008, diseases such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough have increased, among others which had been controlled thanks to vaccines

Anti-vaccine social movement threatens global health

Diseases that had been eradicated have begun to resurface, due to movements of groups of people who are deeply against everything "unnatural" or chemicals. Those who have been most affected are the newborns, whose parents refuse to vaccinate them for various reasons, and the groups of older adults.

In Chile, two men died in January 2018 of yellow fever after traveling to Brazil, who were part of anti-vaccine groups. In Argentina there is concern as to: "There are communities focused on alternative disciplines that avoid immunization", Carla Vizzotti, national director of Immunopreventable Disease Control, told the Clarín newspaper.

Since 2008, diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough, among others, have increased in Latin America and the rest of the world, thanks to vaccines required by health entities worldwide.

In 1998 it was a doctor, the doctor Andrew Wakfield the person in charge to give force and to impel this tendency against the vaccines, after it published a study in The Lancet, a British medical magazine, that gave account of the dangers of the triple vaccine viral and that was directly related to the onset of autism in children.

Study by Andrew Wakfield

The doctor's study claimed that 12 healthy children who were vaccinated against measles, rubella and mumps presented serious neurological problems such as autism after administration. It was stated that the component that is used in vaccines for its preservation, the so-called "thimerosal" was the cause of these evils.

The study that shocked the society and spread quickly, was denied in 2007 in an investigation by journalist Brian Deer that revealed that Wakfield had manipulated data on the results of patients to sue the pharmaceutical companies that made the vaccine and obtain economic benefits.

The doctor and researcher Adriano Arguedas comments to the newspaper La Nación from Costa Rica that: "The hypothesis was that, after vaccination, the digestive tract became inflamed and this produced a more porous intestine that allowed the absorption of toxic substances to the central nervous system, and it caused autism. The study had a negative effect, because there were parents who did not vaccinate their children".

Many investigations were made after these accusations, to corroborate the hypothesis that the component was dangerous for the health of the people and if there was connection with autism and other diseases and the result was very contrary to the postulated by Wakfield.

The Lancet magazine retracted in various publications but the damage was already done and hundreds of people today prefer not to vaccinate their children or themselves for fear of getting sick. Movements around the world began to emerge against vaccines and so the cases of so-called "dead" or overcome diseases began to resurface.

At the beginning of 2000, 10 cases of mumps, 32 cases of poliomyelitis, and 32 cases of whooping cough in the world were estimated. Today, the picture is much less encouraging. In 2017 in Europe there were about 9 thousand cases of these diseases only in Italy, where the anti-vaccine movement is huge and where 89% of the cases were not vaccinated and the rest only partially, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The anti-vaccine movement becomes so dangerous, since in developed nations where the vaccine exists, people reject it.

Effect 1 + 1

When a family decides not to vaccinate their child as well as putting the health of their children and theirs as parents at risk, they are putting at risk everyone around them, especially the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and newborns, even to pregnant women.

Figures worldwide

In 2017 worldwide there were 40,555 cases of measles, 7,660 cases of mumps, 2,124 of whooping cough, 804 of diphtheria and 21,111 of other diseases that have a vaccine and can be prevented, according to VaccinesWork.org who carry out vaccination campaigns.

Brazil is the Latin American country hit hardest by this revival of the "dead" vaccines where in 2017 there were nearly 2 thousand cases of measles and where it is already considered an epidemic, in Venezuela almost a thousand cases and 500 of other preventable diseases, Peru 14 cases while Uruguay remains undefeated.

The first continent most affected by the cases of diseases such as measles is Africa, with almost 40 thousand cases, followed by Europe with just over 21 thousand. North America follows with 6,500 cases and 21,000 in Latin America. In Australia and Asia they do not exceed one thousand cases each.

The WHO estimates that thanks to vaccines, between 2 and 3 million deaths are avoided each year. However 2 million people die annually because they do not get vaccinated. Measles, smallpox, poliomyelitis are the beginning to take force in 2018.

The pediatrician Carlos González explains to the newspaper El País of Spain about this trend in his book in defense of vaccines (Temas de hoy, 2011). "These fears are fueled by false beliefs of parents. Generally, those who decide not to vaccinate their children believe they are well informed: they have read books and visited dozens of internet sites that clearly publicize against vaccines, but they are very poorly informed", says González.


Latin American Post | Daniella Páez Otey

Translated from "Movimiento social anti-vacunas amenaza la salud mundia"