10 dormant diseases: what the threats of rejection of vaccinations

Recently, WHO included a rejection of vaccines to the list of major threats to humanity, along with Ebola, HIV and air pollution. We analyze the vaccination calendar and find out against what and why we are vaccinated and what threatens the rejection of vaccinations.


Bacteria are transmitted by airborne droplets and by contact in severe cases. The disease affects the nasopharynx, oral cavity, and sometimes the skin. Mortality from diphtheria is 5-10%, and 20% in infancy. The diphtheria vaccine was discovered in 1923 and is part of TDP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis). According to the WHO estimates, 86% of the children in the world receive the recommended three doses of diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine in infancy, and the majority of those vaccinated are simply immune to the disease. However, diphtheria bacteria are constantly circulating around us, waiting only for a break in vaccination. In the CIS countries in the 1990s, more than 150,000 people fell ill with diphtheria, who were not vaccinated or forged vaccination certificates (Source, p. 539.). Now (2017–2018) there is an outbreak of diphtheria in Latin America.


TDP vaccination against diphtheria (as well as against pertussis and tetanus) is scheduled at the age of two months. It may also include other components that are marked separately (vaccines against hepatitis, polio, hemophilic and pneumococcal infections).


The rejection of vaccinations in Britain caused massive epidemics of pertussis in 1978 and 1982. During the epidemics, 70,000 children fell ill, 60% were severe and fatal cases. It is believed that the moratorium on pertussis vaccination in Sweden from 1979 to 1996 led to the fact that during these years more than half of children under 10 years old were affected and only a high level of medicine allowed keeping the death rate from the disease at the level of one victim per year. 


A disease that affects the nervous system of a child and leads to paralysis or death. In 2002, Kazakhstan has named a polio-free country among many other countries. This is exactly the result of the universal vaccination of children, started in the 1950s and taken under the control of UNICEF in the late 1980s.

Now, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are among the countries where the disease is not eradicated. The “imported” disease sometimes penetrates to us from these countries, as it did in 2010 with the virus imported from Tajikistan.


Acute infectious disease, which is quite easily tolerated by children. This is the reason for the rubella vaccination criticism. However, rubella is very dangerous during pregnancy, causing abnormalities in the fetus, such as cataracts, heart defects and congenital deafness. Systematic vaccination has led to the fact that rubella has become a rather rare disease, but its outbreaks occur all over the world, for example, in Japan.

In Kazakhstan, thanks to vaccination for 17 years, it has been possible to reduce the number of people who get sick every year from 30 thousand to zero.


Hepatitis B

Another disease, the vaccine against which is often criticized, in particular due to the content of harmful compounds. In contrast to the common hepatitis A, which is the “disease of unwashed hands”, the probability of getting sick with hepatitis B, in fact, seems to be less. However, WHO recommends vaccination against hepatitis B for both newborns and all unvaccinated. According to WHO statistics, the number of carriers of the virus in the world can be from 3% to 6% of the population, and about 2 million people get hepatitis B every year.


According to WHO, measles is one of the most frequent causes of infant mortality at the age of under-five, despite the fact that the vaccine was invented back in 1966. Complications after measles include disorders of the respiratory and nervous systems, pneumonia, stenosis of the larynx, even encephalitis.

The child has innate immunity for the first three months of life, if its mother had had measles before, but then this immunity disappears, so the vaccination is done at about the age of a year.

Thanks to the widespread use of measles vaccine over the past 10 years, the world has managed to reduce mortality from the disease by 71%. WHO believes that measles outbreaks, such as those spread in Europe over the past 10 years, are the result of non-vaccination (see chart below).



A tick-borne infection causes swelling of the brain and can be fatal. Vaccination is relevant for people living in risk areas, with a large number of parasitic vectors of the disease. The most dangerous zones in Kazakhstan are Almaty, Almaty region and East Kazakhstan region. The process of vaccination itself is rather complicated and takes place in three time-limited stages; therefore, vaccination is recommended strictly according to the schedule. 


According to the Massachusetts Medical Society, bacteria carriers, that cause tuberculosis, can be up to a quarter of the world’s population.

This, however, is not a pandemic; only the active form of the disease is dangerous. In developed countries, thanks to BCG (Calmette-Guerin bacillus) vaccination, it was possible to reduce the incidence to a safe level. However, in developing countries, the situation is not so safe. Over 80% of severe cases occur in Africa. In Kazakhstan, up to 23 thousand cases of tuberculosis in open form were registered annually; according to the latest data, the figures are slightly lower – about 12 thousand per year.



It is also known as “mumps”. The disease mainly affects children from 3 to 15 years.

It is not so much the disease itself that is dangerous today, which is quite easily treatable, but the complications of an adult human disease such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and orchitis (testicular inflammation, which can lead to infertility in men). The mumps vaccine is part of the MPR (measles, parotitis, rubella) complex vaccine, which is given to children twice – at the age of 1 and 6.


The tetanus bacillus affects the human nervous system and causes muscle cramps that can lead to respiratory arrest. The anti-tetanus vaccine is made every 10 years starting from three months. Vaccination against tetanus (except for natal) is questioned by many since it does not cause prolonged immunity and many do not make it in adulthood. However, it is worth remembering that tetanus mortality can reach 85 percent in children and 40 in adults, the mortality rate is higher than that of the plague and Ebola.


All these diseases are dormant, but their outbreaks occur regularly throughout the world, regardless of the development of countries. For example, measles outbreaks in Europe, rubella and mumps in Japan. Although according to WHO, global vaccination coverage in recent years has remained at 85% of the population, this is not a reason to relax, because according to the same data, due to the rejection of vaccination every year around 1 500 000 people die in the world.

Журналист, редактор. Филолог-славист. Соавтор и составитель ряда работ по журналистике и языку вражды. Работал журналистом и редактором в различных научно-популярных, развлекательных и общественно-политических изданиях Казахстана. Главный редактор проекта «Фактчек в Казахстане» с 2017 по 2022 год. Медиатренер, создатель образовательного проекта Factcheck.Academy