Flu vaccine

Vaccine safety concern has regional differences: Wellcome survey

Photo of child in Bangladesh wincing as she receives her MMR shot
A Rohingya refugee gets an MMR vaccine at camp in Bangladesh in November 2017. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

While 79% of people worldwide "somewhat" or "strongly agree" that vaccines are safe, certain parts of the world have a concerning level of disbelief, particularly in parts of Europe, according to a large Gallup survey for charitable foundation Wellcome Trust released on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The global health community is trying understand and combat pockets of anti-vaccination or vaccine hesitancy, which have recently led to some devastating outbreaks, such as from the highly contagious but preventable measles, even though vaccine injuries are rare.

The pandemic potential

Images of green H1N1 virus, responsible for the deadly Spanish Flue outbreak in 1918
The H1N1 virus, responsible for the deadly Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918. Photo: BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

Another global threat — one that is a repeated refrain amongst the White House, Centers for Disease Control, former national security advisers and even Bill Gates — is a pandemic.

Between the lines: Influenza is of particular concern for health officials, even though there are more contagious viruses — for example, measles — and more deadly ones, like Ebola.