Polio vaccination Pacific Press/Getty Images

Quando il populismo rischia di uccidere

LONDRA – Negli ultimi anni, un infondato scetticismo verso i vaccini emerso in alcune comunità sia nei paesi in via di sviluppo che in quelli sviluppati è diventato uno degli ostacoli più gravi al progresso sul fronte della salute pubblica a livello globale. Di fatto, tale scetticismo è una delle ragioni principali per cui alcune malattie infettive eliminabili persistono ancora oggi.     

Ad esempio, l’impegno nella lotta contro la poliomielite ha subito una battuta d’arresto in Afghanistan, Pakistan e Nigeria, dove il regime dei militanti islamici ha favorito una maggiore resistenza alle campagne di vaccinazione. Inoltre, negli ultimi anni molti paesi ad alto reddito hanno avuto a che fare con epidemie di morbillo a causa dei timori suscitati da un articolo tendenzioso sui vaccini che uscì sulla rivista medica britannica The Lancet nel 1998.

Più di recente, lo scetticismo sulla sicurezza e l’efficacia dei vaccini sembra essere aumentato nell’Europa meridionale. Secondo uno studio del 2016, la Grecia figura adesso tra i primi dieci paesi al mondo con il più basso tasso di fiducia nella sicurezza dei vaccini. Come osservato dal ministro della sanità greco Andreas Xanthos, gli operatori sanitari vengono a contatto con un numero sempre maggiore di genitori spaventati dall’idea di vaccinare i propri figli.    

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