Anti-vaccination movement surges across Europe and US as pandemic soars

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: May 25, 2020, 08.49 PM(IST)

Police officers disperse people who joined an anti-coronavirus lockdown demonstration with one protester carrying a placard with an anti-vaccination slogan in Hyde Park in London Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

This pandemic coincides with the revival of the anti-vaccination movement which is increasingly gaining traction across the Europe and the US

Coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the globe with over 5.4 million cases and 345,064 fatalities.

The total number of cases stood at 5,408,301, the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. 

Currently, the US has the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 1,643,098 and 97,711, respectively.

This pandemic coincides with the revival of the anti-vaccination movement which is increasingly gaining traction across Europe and the US, many of whom believe that vaccinations cause autism and other lifelong ailments, and believe it is surveillance technology.

Commonly called “anti-vaxxers”, they refuse to vaccinate or to get kids vaccinated, putting large scores of populations vulnerable to health issues.

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A man holds a sign against vaccination at an anti-coronavirus lockdown demonstration in Hyde Park in London on May 16, 2020, following an easing of lockdown rules in England during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Fliers advertising 'mass gatherings' organised by the UK Freedom Movement to oppose the government lockdown measures and guidelines put in place to halt the spread of coronavirus in parks around the UK calling for attendees to bring a picnic and music have been circulating on social media. People are being asked to "think carefully" before visiting national parks and beaches on the first weekend since coronavirus lockdown measures were partially eased in England | AFP

 

Recently, Bill Gates has been at the centre of COVID-19 discourse. The founder of Microsoft earlier warned the world against a pandemic and called for greater preparedness.

In a bizarre turn of events, a recently conducted survey has found that over 28 per cent Americans believe that Bill Gates intends to use the coronavirus vaccine to plant microchips in people for surveillance purposes. Gates has pledged $300 million for COVID-19 vaccine research.

Many anti-vaxxers believe that that a vaccine developed at express-speed could be unsafe. The protesters say that vaccines are nothing but chemicals that the government injects into its citizens without their consent.

Today, anti-vaxxers are filling town squares of major European cities such as Berlin, Zurich, and Vienna. The resistance is beginning to trouble governments as they ease lockdowns to re-boot their economies.

Also read: 28% Americans believe Bill Gates intends to microchip people using coronavirus vaccine

Such protests have been taking place in prominent US cities for at least five years.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just reported a steep decline in the number of American children receiving their routine immunisations. In 2019, the anti-vax movement caused the return of measles to the US.

Many people in Europe are refusing vaccinations now. For instance, in Switzerland - 20 per cent of the people say they will not get vaccinated. 18 per cent Austrians feel the same way. In Germany - 9 per cent of the population is opposed to vaccines. Over 10 per cent Britons reject vaccinations.

According to a YouGuv survey - only half of surveyed Americans are willing to get vaccinated.

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