On August 18, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release from Geneva, Switzerland titled “Vaccine hesitancy: A growing challenge for immunization programmes.”1 The focus of the release was to highlight views expressed by public health officials in a special edition of the journal Vaccine, which was “guest-edited” and published by the WHO.1
Foremost among the views was the continuing concern by health officials over the number of people around the world who remain unvaccinated despite the availability of vaccines. According to the release, approximately 1 out of 5 children globally do not get vaccinated. The WHO attributes the situation to a phenomenon called “vaccine hesitancy,” which the organization describes as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of safe vaccines despite availability of vaccination services.”
The release quotes Philippe Duclos, PhD, head of WHO’s Immunization Policy Unit. “Vaccines can only improve health and prevent deaths if they are used, and immunization programs must be able to achieve and sustain high vaccine uptake rates,” says Dr. Duclos. “Vaccine hesitancy is an increasingly important issue for country immunization programs.”1
The WHO attributes vaccine hesitancy to:
Concerns about vaccine safety can be linked to vaccine hesitancy, but safety concerns are only one of many factors that may drive hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by other factors such as: negative beliefs based on myths, e.g. that vaccination of women leads to infertility; misinformation; mistrust in the health care professional or health care system; the role of influential leaders; costs; geographic barriers and concerns about vaccine safety.1 ….
Now where did the pregnancy “myth” come from?