In 2017 Europe experienced a fourfold increase in measles cases across the region. Up from 5,273 in 2016 more than 21,000 confirmed measles cases and 35 deaths were recorded across ten European countries over the past year. This situation highlights a concerning trend of vaccine hesitancy that can be seen in countries around the globe.
Dr. Heidi Larson of the Vaccine Confidence Project (www.vaccineconfidence.org) recently published an article in the Financial Times discussing this issue and what can be done to regain the public trust in vaccines. She identifies some of the root causes that have led to declines in vaccination coverage rates in some countries, pointing to the debunked study linking MMR to autism, a decline in the public’s trust of government, anger over vaccine mandates, and resistance to medical treatments that are perceived as “not natural”. These issues are compounded as social media has allowed for the rapid distribution of misleading or false messages urging parents not to vaccinate their children. Dr. Larson urges governments to take actions to regain the social trust among its citizens to ensure that the progress that has been made towards measles elimination is not lost.
The full article by Dr. Larson can be found here.