Trust in immunisation lowest in Europe

2 minute read

Anti-vaccination sentiment is alive and well across Europe, the largest look at attitudes towards immunisation shows


Anti-vaccination sentiment is alive and well across Europe, the largest look at global attitudes towards immunisation has shown

A survey of almost 66,000 people, across 67 countries, revealed that the European region contained seven out of 10 countries with the lowest confidence in the safety of vaccines.

France had the highest proportion of sceptics, with 41% of those surveyed disagreeing that vaccines were safe.

The negative attitudes in France might have been due to controversies around the suspected side effects of hepatitis B and HPV vaccines.

Other countries with low levels of confidence included Bosnia and Herzegovina (36%), Russia (28%), Mongolia (27%) and Greece, Japan and Ukraine (25%).

Bu contrast, countries in Southeast Asia had the greatest faith in vaccines. Less than 1% of people in Bangladesh believed vaccines were unsafe, with similarly low levels of suspicion in Indonesia and Thailand, at 3% and 6% respectively.

“It is vital to global health that we regularly monitor attitudes towards vaccines so that we can quickly identify countries or groups with declining confidence,”  Dr Heidi Larson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said.

“This gives us the best chance of preventing possible outbreaks of diseases like measles, polio and meningitis which can cause illness, life-long disability and death.”

And while certain religious groups held negative attitudes towards vaccines in some countries, there was no single religion internationally that was associated with higher levels of vaccine scepticism.

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