There is no health for all without vaccines for all – WHO Director-General

WHO Director-General Statement on the Role of Social
Media Platforms in Health Information

New Delhi, 29th August 2019. The World
Health Organizaion (WHO) estimated that vaccines save at least 2 million
lives every year. Countless more children avoid debilitating diseases,
prolonged hospital stays and time out of school.

WHO Director-General said that misinformation about
vaccines is as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread. The
World Health Organization welcomed Pinterest’s leadership in protecting public
health by only providing evidence-based information about vaccines to its
users. We hope to see other social media platforms around the world following
Pinterest’s lead.

In a statement WHO DG said,

“Misinformation about vaccination has spread far and fast on
social media platforms in many different countries, including during critical
vaccination campaigns like those for polio in Pakistan or yellow fever in South
America.

 Social media
platforms are the way many people get their information and they will likely be
major sources of information for the next generations of parents. We see this
as a critical issue and one that needs our collective effort to protect
people’s health and lives.

 The truth is,
vaccines work. Smallpox has been eradicated thanks to vaccines, and vaccines
have brought us to the brink of eradicating polio. Rates of many other diseases
including measles have been dramatically reduced thanks to the life-saving
power of vaccines.

 Vaccines are one of
the most powerful innovations in the history of public health, and one
of the best investments in a healthier, safer world. WHO estimates that
vaccines save at least 2 million lives every year. Countless more children
avoid debilitating diseases, prolonged hospital stays and time out of school.

At the same time, a social media response – while absolutely
necessary – is just one part of a comprehensive approach to ensuring broad
trust in vaccination; this also requires substantive efforts by governments in
building health systems that are worthy of that trust and respond to parents’
needs and concerns.

Ultimately, there is no health for all without vaccines for all. I look forward to seeing the private sector more fully embracing the #healthforall mission and making life-saving health information more readily available to their users. And I call upon them to do more to filter out misinformation and inaccuracies that prevent people from achieving health and well-being. #VaccinesWork.”

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