Rise of European populism linked to vaccine hesitancy

There is a significant association between the rise of populism across Europe and the level of mistrust around vaccines, according to a new study. “It seems likely that scientific populism is driven by similar feelings to political populism, for example, a profound distrust of elites and experts by disenfranchised and marginalized parts of the population,” says the study’s lead author. “Even where programs objectively improve the health of targeted populations, they can be viewed with suspicion by communities that do not trust elites and experts.”

There is a significant association between the rise of populism across Europe and the level of mistrust around vaccines, according to a study by Queen Mary University of London.

Lead author Dr. Jonathan Kennedy from Queen Mary’s Global Public Health Unit at the Blizard Institute, said: “It seems likely that scientific populism is driven by similar feelings to political populism, for example, a profound distrust of elites and experts by disenfranchised and marginalized parts of the population.

“Even where programs objectively improve the health of targeted populations, they can be viewed with suspicion by communities that do not trust elites and experts. In the case of vaccine hesitancy, distrust is focused on public health experts and pharmaceutical companies that advocate vaccines.”

Data from 14 European countries
The study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, looked at national-level data from 14 European countries. This data included the percentage of people in a country who voted for populist parties in the 2014 European Parliament elections, and the percentage of people in a country who believe that vaccines are not important, safe and/or effective, according to data from the 2015 Vaccine Confidence Project.

QMUL says that the analysis found a highly significant positive association between the percentage of people in a country who voted for populist parties and the percentage who believe that vaccines are not important and not effective.

Professor Sophie Harman, an expert on global health politics from Queen Mary’s School of Politics and International Relations, who was not involved in the research, commented: “Like restrictions on reproductive rights, anti-vaccination rhetoric has long been the canary in the coal mine for populism.”

Tracing back to discredited research on MMR vaccine and autism
In the research article, Dr Kennedy writes that modern vaccine hesitancy is usually traced to Andrew Wakefield’s now discredited 1998 Lancet article, which claimed a link between the , mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here