We advance rapidly until 2019 and the anti-vaccination campaign is a multi-faced global beast, stimulated by security concerns, religious beliefs and policies, preferences for homeopathic approaches and widespread disinformation.
But a question that lasted for about 150 years is the backlash not simply against vaccinations, but against mandatory vaccinations. Today, growing populism in Europe and the United States is part of a new wave of no-vaccine distrust at the plant, experts say.
Today, that anti-government sentiment "continues to be a thread in the anti-vaccine movement – particularly in this era of government mistrust," Professor Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said at CNN.
Larson said that populism and the anti-vaccination movement were "totally interrelated", adding that it was a "symptom" of "underlying mistrust" in the plant.
"Vaccination is one of the cheapest ways to avoid the disease – currently it prevents 2-3 million deaths in the year, and an additional 1.5 million could be avoided if the global vaccination coverage improved," said # 39; WHO.
But the hesitation of vaccines, or the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines, "threatens to reverse the progress made in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases".
This trend has been observed in a growing number of anti-vaccine groups in the United States and some European countries.
The inversion of vaccination of Italy
Last August, the Italian populist government shocked the scientific and medical community after removing compulsory vaccination for schoolchildren.
The press agency of ANSA reported that the head of the League and the Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini declared in June 2018 that the 10 mandatory vaccinations – which include measles, tetanus and polio – they were "useless and in many cases dangerous, if not even harmful".
The law was introduced for the first time by the Democratic Party a month before, in a measles outbreak that saw 5.004 cases reported in 2017 – the second highest figure in Europe after Romania – according to the European Center for Prevention and disease control. Italy accounted for 34% of all cases of measles reported by the countries of the European economic area, said the center.
"Italy is part of a global trend of distrust in mediators – doctors and scientists – who can interpret and explain data," said Andrea Grignolio, who teaches history of medicine and bioethics at La Sapienza University of Rome.
"With the advent of the Internet, people have the illusion of being able to access and read data on their own, eliminating the need for technical and scientific knowledge."
Experts say the origins of the recent anti-vaccine movement in Italy can be traced back to a 2012 court ruling that linked autism and the combined vaccination of measles, mumps and rubella. Although the ruling was canceled three years later, it has contributed to the spread of anti-vaccination theories throughout the country and around the world.
Debunked 'science & # 39;
In the United States, the anti-vaccine awakening was amplified by the actors Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy – who claimed to believe that the vaccines could have contributed to the autism of McCarthy's son – and high profile celebrities such as the 39; then real estate mogul and reality TV Star, Donald Trump.
A report published by the CDC in October showed that while coverage for a number of vaccines "remained high and stable overall", the segment of unvaccinated children under 2 rose from 0.9% for those born in 2011 to the 1.3% for those born in 2015. In 2001, only 0.3% of children between 19 and 35 months had not received doses of vaccine.
According to WHO, the increase in unvaccinated children was seen on a global scale through global measles outbreak data from last year.
Preliminary numbers of measles cases reported to the WHO headquarters in 183 countries showed an increase of almost 50% in the cases in mid-January 2019 compared to the one in 2018.
Cases of measles were steadily declining globally until 2016, according to Dr. Katrina Kretsinger of the WHO immunization program. But since 2017 this number has skyrocketed, he said, noting that the number included rich countries where historically vaccination rates were high.
"We are having protracted epidemics, which are considerable and are growing," Kretsinger said at a conference this week. "This is not an isolated problem."
While there are many reasons why parents might choose not to vaccinate their children, the reason that the anti-vaccination movement has been able to spread so prolifically has a common denominator: social media.
The amplification of a message
The rise – and diversification – of social media platforms has catapulted anti-vaccination rhetoric into the mainstream.
David R. Curry, executive director of the Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy, told CNN that vaccine hesitations, or anti-vaccine initiatives, were increasingly able to use cost-effective and very effective social media platforms to spread their message.
"We believe it is probably the first vehicle to spread arguments that are not factually based and that are frankly destructive to public health," Curry said, noting that, critically, social media have allowed the spread of anti-rhetoric. vaccine in countries where historically, vaccine confidence has been high.
"The challenges we see are that we do not have a series of effective countermeasures with adequate resources to tackle that threat and we see this as a serious problem," he added.
In these Facebook groups, the boundaries between political rhetoric and health problems often get confused. And although many of these networks may seem like a small, close-knit community, they are not immune to foreign interference.
"One of the strangest things was that they were trying – or seemed to try – to link vaccines with issues of American discourse, such as racial disparities or class disparities that are not traditionally associated with vaccination," lead author David Broniatowski, an assistant Professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at George Washington University, he said.
Now, critics are asking technology companies like Facebook, YouTube and Google to take greater responsibility for the public health interruptions that occur on their platforms, arguing that social media can not voluntarily ignore the assumption of significant responsibility for content on their sites.
"If a concerned parent constantly sees information in their Newsfeed that casts doubt on the safety or efficacy of the vaccines, it may lead them to ignore the advice of their children's and public health practitioners and refuse to follow the program recommended vaccination, "said Schiff. . "Repetition of information, even if false, can often be confused with accuracy, and exposure to anti-vaccine content through social media can negatively influence users' attitudes towards vaccination."
While technology companies are becoming increasingly fiery for hosting some of these groups, some individuals most affected by the anti-vaccine movement have turned to social media for help.
The teenager of Ohio Ethan Lindenberger grew up thinking that not being vaccinated was normal, posting on a post Reddit popular last November, according to which "my parents think that the vaccines are a kind of government scheme".
But he was in disagreement with his parents, telling CNN this week that he wanted to protect others from disease as much as he did.
"Obviously it scares me a little, but I will try to do my best to convince my parents that they should and hope it works," he said.
Gianluca Mezzofiore of CNN contributed to this report.