Over half a million children from the UK are at risk from the potentially fatal measles virus after not receiving the recommended vaccinations, says the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The UK is one of the top three countries of all high-income nations, along with the United States and France, with the highest number of children who missed their first round of immunisations, according to The Independent.
Over the last eight years, there have been about 527,000 children in the UK who are in danger of the measles.
New data shows a significant increase in measles cases in England within the last year due to the high number of unvaccinated children between 2010 and 2017.
Anti-vaccine campaigners doubt the effects of vaccines, however, and such beliefs have been reinforced on social media by major politicians, such as Deputy Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, and President Donald Trump.
Salvini believes there are “too many vaccines…that…are useless and dangerous,” but Walter Ricciardi, Professor of Public Health, disproves this believe as an anti-scientific approach, according to The Independent.
“With measles cases almost quadrupled in England in just one year, it is grossly irresponsible for anybody to spread scare stories about vaccines, and social media firms should have a zero tolerance approach towards this dangerous content,” Chief Executive of the National Health Service, Simon Stevens, said.
Trump has also previously tweeted that there is a link between vaccines and autism. Public health experts, however, have deemed this claim to be blatantly false.
“It’s nearing two decades since I graduated from medical school, and in that span of time I’ve immunised thousands of patients. Not once have I encountered a case where those immunisations could be plausibly linked with autism,” said Daniel Summers, a New England paediatrician.
UNICEF works toward preventing children from getting diseases and keeping children safe by promoting and providing vaccinations.