Air pollution is greatest environmental threat to health, says World Health Organisation


"A further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved", the group said. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that while coverage of most recommended vaccines remained relatively stable and high in 2017 for United States children aged 19-35 months, the percentage who have not received vaccines has quadrupled since 2001. The reasons for this rise are complex, and not all of these cases are due to vaccine hesitancy. "But we physicians, particularly older physicians, have seen these diseases and what they can do".

Healthcare workers remain the most trusted influencer of vaccination decisions, and they must be supported to deliver trusted, credible vaccine information to people.

Katrine Habersaat, form WHO's Vaccine-prevented Diseases and Immunization programme, warned about the dangers of spreading "anti-vaccination misinformation".

Another important vaccine the World Health Organization mentions by name: the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. Thanks to misguided (to say the least) adherence to anti-vaxxing doctrine in the US and around the world, the World Health Organization included "vaccine hesitancy" on its list of ten threats to global health in 2019. Experts say "vaccine hesitancy" risks reversing progress in fighting preventable diseases.

Anti-vaxxers have been officially named by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a threat to global health.

The list also said that 2019 could be the year that transmission of polio stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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"WHO and partners are committed to supporting these countries to vaccinate every last child to eradicate this crippling disease for good", the list said.

World Health Organization also warns of the dangers of influenza - a century after the 1918 flu pandemic killed millions of people around the globe.

People who refuse to vaccinate are now among the top 10 health threats the world faces in 2019. The authors stress the importance of getting a flu shot each year for the best protection against the virus. These types of conditions, linked to lifestyle factors like obesity, alcohol and tobacco use, are "collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, or 41 million people", the report said.

Other global health threats the WHO noted it would have to pay attention to this year include noncommunicable diseases, fragile and vulnerable settings and an expected global pandemic of flu.

The WHO list air pollution as the greatest environmental risk to health. Pollutants in the air can penetrate respiratory and circulatory systems, damaging the lungs, heart and brain and causing an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year from diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart and lung disease.