The World Medical Association (WMA) has expressed its alarm over increasing reports of measles outbreaks in many parts of the world, and has called on physicians to address the concerns of vaccine-hesitant parents.
At its Council meeting in Santiago, Chile, last week, the Association said that misconceptions about vaccinations and reduced vaccination rates pose a significant challenge for health authorities of all nations. Council members agreed to an emergency resolution, which said it was clear that increasing global travel by ‘less than appropriately protected individuals’ as well as misconceptions posed a challenge.
“The growing measles outbreaks are putting both children and adult lives at risk. We echo the warning from the World Health Organization that vaccine hesitancy has become a top global health threat,” said Dr Frank Montgomery, Chair of the WMA.
“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.”
The WMA is calling on national medical associations to increase awareness of immunisation schedules and for individual physicians to pay special attention to addressing the concerns of vaccine-hesitant parents.