Intended for healthcare professionals


Europe steps up action against vaccine hesitancy as measles outbreaks continue

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 16 October 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4803
  1. Rebecca Coombes
  1. The BMJ

The goal of eliminating measles from Europe was dealt a blow last week after new data showed how outbreaks continue to sweep the continent.

Nearly 19 000 cases of measles were reported in the European Union between January 2016 and October 2017, including 44 deaths, show figures collected by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.1

The new figures were released as the centre steps up its initiatives in response to a rise in so called “vaccine hesitancy” in Europe. Speaking to The BMJ, the centre’s director, Andrea Ammon, said that governments and doctors needed to engage head on with parents over safety concerns. She praised Denmark, where rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination have plummeted, for taking its message to social media in a campaign that is showing some early promise.

“Safety is the most important determinant in deciding whether to vaccinate or not,” said Ammon. “People’s perception of …

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