Polio vaccination Pacific Press/Getty Images

Quand le populisme peut coûter des vies

LONDRES – Dans certaines communautés des pays en voie de développement comme des pays développés, un scepticisme infondé face à la vaccination constitue depuis quelques années l’un des plus sérieux obstacles aux progrès de la santé publique dans le monde. De fait, ce comportement constitue l’une des principales raisons pour lesquelles les maladies infectieuses éradicables persistent encore aujourd’hui.

À travers le monde, les efforts d’éradication de la polio sont par exemple mis à mal en Afghanistan, au Pakistan et au Nigeria, où le règne des militants islamistes conduit à une résistance accrue aux campagnes de vaccination. De nombreux pays à revenu élevé ont par ailleurs connu une recrudescence de la rougeole ces dernières années, en raison de craintes liées aux vaccins, nées après la publication de travaux erronés dans la revue médicale britannique The Lancet en 1997.

Plus récemment, un scepticisme quant à la sécurité et à l’efficacité des vaccins a progressé dans les pays du sud de l’Europe. D’après une étude de 2016, la Grèce figurerait dans le top dix des pays les plus dubitatifs concernant la sécurité des vaccins. Comme l’a souligné le ministre grec de la Santé, Andreas Xanthos, les professionnels de la médecine rencontrent de plus en plus de parents réticents à faire vacciner leurs enfants.

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