Anti-vaccination conspiracy theories born in the UK are now spreading as far as India, while mobile internet is finding its way around the world.
In the BBC Two documentary Conspiracy Files: Vaccine Wars, which is broadcast tonight, experts note the UK as the home of the anti-vaxxer.
Theories that have broken out in the meantime British doctors, despite being proven wrong, have traveled across oceans and continents to sow dissatisfaction among parents around the world.
It is when NHS figures today revealed that the number of shots for all nine shots in England fell last year, a red flag in a continuous battle against misinformation.
Officials in the US, France, Poland and India have all seen myths about alleged dangers of vaccinations in their country, the documentary explains.
An expert predicted that we will not find a solution for this in the current political climate & # 39 ;.
A UNICEF employee in India, Nizamuddin Ahmed (photo), said an increase in smartphone use and access to social media apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook has led to a revival of vaccine skepticism in people in the country. He said: & # 39; Most of the material that we have seen on social media sites or the WhatsApp or other tools comes from outside of India & # 39;
The documentary, which will be broadcast on Thursday 26 September at 9 p.m., puts experts and campaigners from all over the world against each other to discuss vaccines.
A UNICEF medic in India, Nizamuddin Ahmed, said that the possession of smartphones has increased enormously in the last three years, causing more people to see anti-vaccine content.
For example, WhatsApp and Facebook have hundreds of millions of Indian users and are a refuge for anti-vaxx content translated into local dialects.
The conspiracy theories come from abroad, he says, and can be traced to long-discredited science in the UK.
Ahmed said: & # 39; Very often in the field, 10 to 20 percent of families come … with their questions. Why is it important? Why should my child be vaccinated?
& # 39; People are exposed to these false and fake messages about the vaccination.
& # 39; Most of the material we have seen on the social media sites or the WhatsApp or other tools comes from outside India. & # 39;
An UNICEF immunization specialist in the country said the messages have been translated into different languages and locally specific dialects and are aimed at people hooking up.
Campaigners use emotional tactics, Dr. said. Bhrigu Kapuria, as well as & # 39; rumor trading & # 39; that focuses on the religious feelings of people and constantly adapts to the public.
Research by the British Wellcome Trust, published earlier this year, has shown that the sense of anti-vaccination varies worldwide. It turned out that those in Europe and East Asia most likely think that vaccines are unsafe, while the highest levels of confidence were found in East Africa and South Asia
WhatsApp and Facebook now have hundreds of millions of Indian users and are a refuge for anti-vaxx content translated into local dialects, experts said
The basis of most anti-vaccination theories is based on claims from doctors in England – John Wilson in the 1970s and Andrew Wakefield in the 1990s.
Wilson claimed that he had evidence that the whooping cough vaccination could cause brain damage in small children and that he had case studies to prove this.
But detailed scientific studies were conducted by the British government that completely refuted Wilson's theory, the documentary explains.
HOW DO WAKEFIELD & # 39; S DISCREDITED RESEARCH HAVE THIS MMR VACCINE RATES?
Dr. Wakefield appeared to have compiled the results of his research
In 1995, gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet that showed that children who had been vaccinated against MMR were more likely to develop bowel disease and autism.
He speculated that injecting with a & # 39; dead & # 39; measles virus form causes disruption of intestinal tissue through vaccination, leading to both disorders.
After a 1998 paper further confirmed this finding, Wakefield said: & # 39; The risk that this specific syndrome (what Wakefield & # 39; autistic enterocolitis & # 39; called) develops is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, instead of the individual vaccines. & # 39;
At the time, Wakefield had a patent for measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and was therefore accused of a conflict of interest.
Nevertheless, BMR vaccination rates in the US and UK plummeted until the editor of The Lancet Dr. Richard Horton in 2004 described the Wakefield investigation as & # 39; fundamentally flawed & # 39 ;, adding that he was paid by a group that pursued lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.
The Lancet formally withdrew Wakefield's research document in 2010.
Three months later, the General Medical Council prohibited Wakefield from practicing medicine in the UK, and stated that his research had a & # 39; callless disdain & # 39; for the health of children.
On January 6, 2011, The British Medical Journal published a report showing that out of the 12 children included in the 1995 Wakefield study, at most two had autistic symptoms after vaccination, instead of the eight he claimed.
At least two of the children also had developmental delay before being vaccinated, but the Wakefield article claimed that they were all & # 39; previously normal & # 39; goods.
Further findings indicated that none of the children had autism, non-specific colitis or symptoms within days of receiving the MMR vaccine, but the study claimed that six of the participants were all three members.
And Wakefield, a more recent anti-vaxx icon still active in the US and Europe, claimed in the 90s that the MMR jab could cause autism.
Wakefield's investigation also proved to be incorrect – he had invented the results of a study he had published in the medical journal The Lancet – and he was removed from the medical register and left the UK shortly thereafter.
But the shadows of their work persist, with anti-vaxxers around the world still believing that the proven theories and others, such as ingredients such as mercury – although a non-metallic form – are harmful in vaccines.
Although science claims to be behind these myths, it has repeatedly proved incorrect, but people continue to believe them.
And the argument has taken an increasingly political stance, with some using it as a right to choose what their child is given.
According to a recent study in France, the most vaccine-skeptical country in the world, one third of people are actively of the opinion that vaccines are unsafe.
On the program is a French woman who runs one of & # 39; the world's largest anti-vaccine Facebook groups, Marie Werbreuge.
She claims that vaccines contain ingredients that can be harmful to human health.
But the minister of health, professor Agnes Buzyn, said: & French people doubt expertise. They doubt institutions, authorities and they doubt political messages.
& # 39; That clearly contributes to their opposition to public health messages. The French are very inclined to alternative medicine. & # 39;
Anti-vaxx messages have also found a home in Poland that Wakefield recently visited as part of a publicity tour for his 2016 documentary, Vaxxed.
At the same time, the country is being rattled by an outbreak of measles.
1,282 cases of the disease have already been confirmed by the World Health Organization this year – more than three times the number of 391 last year and a 20-fold increase of just 63 in 2017.
Scientists who speak in the documentary claim that the debate seems to be less and less about science and more an anti-establishment attitude.
They claim that there is a secret noise between governments and pharmaceutical companies to extort money from countries without carrying out the correct safety tests on medicines.
Dr. Sam Martin, a digital sociologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the program: & When social media platforms stop misinformation on one (network), users spread this information across other networks such as YouTube and Twitter and Facebook
& # 39; There was an outbreak of measles in New York and people started posting negative tweets that were subsequently picked up from the UK and then retweeted, so it shows that the US and also the UK are affecting what is being repeated worldwide posted & # 39;
Dr. Sam Martin (photo) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: & # 39; There was an outbreak of measles in New York and people started posting negative tweets that were then picked up from the UK and then retweeted, so it was late see that the US and also the UK have an impact on what is being reposted around the world & # 39;
This ease of communication means that the spread of conspiracy theories is not bound by national borders or oceans and is a huge challenge to stop.
Efforts are already being made by governments and social media companies, but as long as people feel threatened by the locations where they live, sentiments will continue to spread, experts say.
A political expert who has quoted the program added: & As long as we live in a society where people feel the social contract has been broken off, in which they feel they are living in an unequal economy, in a non-representative political system, we will not find a solution for this. & # 39;
Conspiracy Files: Vaccine Wars will be shown tonight on Thursday 26 September at 9:00 PM BST on BBC Two
WHAT WILL THE UK GOVERNMENT AND NHS IMPROVE VACCINATION PRICES?
The Ministry of Health and the NHS are expected to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve vaccination coverage later this year.
Health authorities have said they:
- Write to general practitioners to encourage them to promote a catch-up vaccination program with jabs for children and young people up to 25 who missed theirs when they were young.
- Update information on its websites to alleviate parents' concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, in particular by using scientific evidence to address and refute misleading claims.
- Invest more in & # 39; local immunization coordinators & # 39; to promote vaccination in hard-to-reach families and areas with low intake.
- Call a meeting of social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, to discuss how to prevent false information about online vaccines.
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