Great scepticism about vaccines in Europe

child vaccine health AfricaA child is vaccinated in a developing country. Photo:

Many people in Europe do not feel confident that it is safe to take vaccines according to a new study. The scepticism is greatest in France.

In Eastern Europe, 50% responded that it is safe to take vaccines in a global survey conducted by Gallup for the UK organization, Wellcome.

The corresponding share in Switzerland and Austria was only slightly higher than in Eastern Europe.

Of all the 144 countries examined, vaccine cepticism is most prevalent in France. According to the BBC, only 47% of respondents said it is safe to take vaccines. 33% of the respondents in France directly disagree that it is safe.

Great health risk

‘’Increasingly, there are population groups and entire countries in the world where confidence in vaccines decreases and fewer are vaccinating.

This poses a major health risk’’ said Imran Khan of Wellcome to The Guardian newspaper.

In Norway, confidence in vaccines is higher than in many other European countries. Here, 83% answered that it is safe to take vaccines.

The survey was conducted as part of a Gallup World Poll between April and December last year and the results were published on Wednesday.

See the consequences

In many developing countries, too, there is high confidence in vaccines. Nearly 100% of both Bangladeshi and Rwandan people responded that vaccines are safe, effective, and important for children.

“Perhaps the explanation is that people in these countries can see what happens if you don’t take vaccines” said Khan.

Western scepticism is at least partly due to conspiracy theories and erroneous statements spread across the web. Measles outbreaks in
a number of countries are linked to vaccine scepticism, which the World Health Organization (WHO) have designated as one of the ten greatest threats to global health.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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