World Medical Association warning on vaccine hesitancy

The World Medical Association has expressed its alarm about increasing reports of measles outbreaks in many parts of the world.

At its Council meeting in Santiago, Chile, the Association said that misconceptions about vaccinations and reduced vaccination rates posed a significant challenge for health authorities of all nations.

An emergency resolution agreed by the meeting said it was clear that increasing global travel by ‘less than appropriately protected individuals’ as well as misconceptions posed a challenge.

The resolution strongly reaffirms the WMA’s 2012 Statement on the Prioritisation of Immunisation, denouncing unfounded and inaccurate claims about the possible dangers of vaccine administration.

Dr. Frank Montgomery, Chair of the WMA, said: ‘The growing measles outbreaks are putting both children and adult lives at risk. We echo the warning from the World Health Organisation that “vaccine hesitancy” has become a top global health threat.

‘Measles is not a trivial disease and vaccination should be regarded as a public duty and not an individual choice. The risk to herd immunity from vaccine hesitancy based on false data must be confronted’.

WMA policy clearly states that vaccination and immunisation have been acknowledged as an effective and safe preventive strategy for several communicable diseases. And vaccine development and administration have been the most significant intervention to eradicate infectious diseases and influence global health in modern times.

The WMA is renewing its call to all its national medical association members to increase awareness of immunisation schedules and for individual physicians to pay special attention to addressing the concerns of vaccine hesitant parents.