The horrific trend of the anti-vaccine movement in Turkey

Vaccination 2018____

(UN News, 2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms. Erva Nur Çınar, a 5th year medical student and human rights activist, currently studying at Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Vaccines are one of the most important measures of preventative medicine toprotect the population from diseases and infections. They have contributed todecreasing rates of common childhood diseases and, in some cases, have evenwiped out some diseases that were common in years past, such as smallpox,rinderpest, and have nearly eradicated malaria and polio.

Fear of vaccines and myths against them are not a new phenomenon. Opposition to vaccines goes as far back as the 18th century when, for example, Reverend Edmund Massey in England called the vaccines “diabolical operations” in his 1772 sermon, “The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation”. While pushback against the measles vaccine due to fears of its connection to autism is the most recent example that comes to mind, there have been other instances of outbreaks of previously “extinct” diseases in modern times.

In Turkey, from 2013, unfortunately, we are observing an increase in the number of anti-vaccine groups, which are causing confusion in people’s minds and affecting people’s health through wrong information. Parents are coming together through a platform called ‘I don’t have to vaccine my child’.

Access to medical information online has dramatically changed the dynamics of the healthcare industry and patient-physician interactions. Medical knowledge that was previously bound to textbooks and journals, or held primarily by medical professionals, is now accessible to the layman, which has shifted the power from doctors as exclusive managers of a patient’s care to the patients themselves.

This has led to the recent establishment of shared decision-making between patients and healthcare physicians. While this is beneficial in some ways, the dissemination of false and misleading information found on the internet can also lead to negative consequences, such as parents not giving consent to having their children vaccinated. When it comes to vaccines, the false information is plentiful and easy to find.

According to the studies an analysis of YouTube videos about immunization found that 32% opposed vaccination and that these had higher ratings and more views than pro-vaccine videos. An analysis of MySpace blogs about HPV immunization found that 43% portrayed the immunization in a negative light; these blogs referenced vaccine-critical organizations and cited inaccurate data.

The number of families that have refused to have their children vaccinated increased to 23,000 last year from 11,000 in 2016 in Turkey. The Ministry of Health and World Health Organization warned that if vaccination is interrupted, up to 14,000 children may lose their lives each year because of preventable diseases. They are also saying parents could have their children vaccinated against 13 types of diseases, including mumps, diphtheria, chin cough, polio, meningitis and German measles, at public health clinics free of charge.

Ensuring high immunization coverage and expanding vaccine access to those who are being missed are crucial parts of universal health coverage. Vaccines prevent a number of diseases, such as rotavirus, measles, rubella, poliomyelitis, whooping cough, hepatitis B and human papillomavirus. They also contribute to realizing national priorities linked to education and economic development, and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Hussain, A., Syed, A., Ahmed, M., Hussain, S. (2018). The Anti-vaccination Movement: A Regression in Modern Medicine, Cureus, 10(7): e2919.

About the author

Erva Nur Çınar is 5th year medical student and human rights activist. Sheis currently studying at Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty. She is workingwith SDSN Youth as an SDG Coordinator and she is also working with UN-MajorGroup for Children and Youth (UNMGCY). She worked with International Federationof Medical Sudents’ Associations (IFMSA), Doctors Wihout Borders (MSF),Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM). She wantsto be a pediatrician in the future and she is defining herself as childrenrights activist. She is playing violine and making yoga, she likes travellingand reading.







the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Border management: EU signs agreement with Montenegro on European Border and Coast Guard cooperation

Mass-graves found of at least 535 killed during ‘organized and planned’ inter-communal attacks in western DR Congo

MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

EU budget 2021-2027: Commission calls on leaders to set out a roadmap towards an autumn agreement

Why do overwhelming proportions of EU’s youth feel excluded?

Why responsible consumption is everyone’s business

Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

The European Sting @ European Business Summit 2014 – the preview

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Why the World Cup is a bit like international trade

Eurogroup president swallows statement on savings confiscation

Password managers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s why

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

Governments can fight corruption by joining the digital payment revolution

India m2m + iot Forum Hosts Successful 4th Editions of India Smart Cities Forum and India Smart Villages Forum

Working fewer hours makes you more efficient. Here’s the proof

Jordan flash flooding: UN chief ‘saddened’ by loss of life

Autumn 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: immigration and climate change remain main concerns at EU level

These 11 EU states already meet their 2020 renewable energy targets

Czech Babis, Austrian Kurz and others threaten Europe with nationalist populism

European Union: More taxes out of less income

UN official sees ‘unprecedented opportunities’ to make progress on peace in Afghanistan

Commission approves emergency measures to protect eastern Baltic cod

More than half of EU consumers have environmental impact in mind when shopping, new survey reveals

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: Another sleepless night for the negotiators before Indaba meeting

3 ways to use digital identity systems in global supply chains

Idai disaster: Stranded victims still need rescue from heavy rains as UN scales up response

If the Current Situation in Hong Kong Arose in the West

General Data Protection Regulation shows results, but work needs to continue

This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes

Climate changes and the imminent public health crises

Banks cannot die but can be fined

He died so I could live: UN peacekeeper pays tribute to fallen colleague

As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid

Jellyfish are taking over the world – and climate change could be to blame

Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future

LGBTQI+ and health care: do they deserve more attention from medical universities?

Gaza blockade causes ‘near ten-fold increase’ in food dependency, says UN agency

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

The 8 pieces of digital DNA we need to thrive in the AI age

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

‘Refrain from violence’ UN chief urges, as presidential election result is announced in DR Congo

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

These are the 4 most likely scenarios for the future of energy

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

Eurozone to enter the winter…

Ukraine’s new political order not accepted in Crimea

UN agencies ramp up Somalia measles and polio campaign

FROM THE FIELD: Restoring life to Ghana’s land

Delhi Declaration: Countries agree to make ‘land degradation neutrality’ by 2030, a national target for action

Caspian Sea deal an invaluable step towards easing regional tensions, says UN Chief

UN agency warns conditions around Yemen’s key port city of Hudaydah still ‘very bad’, as staff rush to deliver aid

This Danish scheme is offering free kayak rides… for picking up trash

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

Microplastics have been found in Rocky Mountain rainwater

Military Medicine and its Relationship with Antibiotic Therapy

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s