Much of the major recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic rides on the discovery of a vaccination or adequate therapeutics to mitigate the risk that SARS-COV-2 poses human health. However vaccine hesitancy is still a widely held belief, with various conspiracy theories involving vaccination being spread online, enjoying a lot of free publicity in the form of online misinformation and regular mainstream news coverage. Few countries currently employ a mandatory national vaccination policy, could this be an option to overcome vaccine hesitancy in the name of eradicating COVID-19? Or would this be counter-productive and feed mistrust? What should be done about the growing ‘anti-vax’ movement in the age of a global pandemic?
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All hope of societies around the world returning to normal depend on the successful development of a COVID-19 vaccine, to bring forward herd immunity without the massive loss of life that it would take to achieve this without a vaccine. Vaccines are vitally important in the fight against contagious pathogens, saving millions of lives worldwide every year, however new trends driven by the use of social media have led to vaccination hesitancy becoming increasingly mainstream in recent years. This development threatens not only the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic but global health generally, as decreased rates of vaccination can cause a loss of herd immunity, substantially increasing risks to society at large, and even vaccinated individuals. While people may argue against mandatory vaccinations as an infringement of their rights, they are simultaneously giving little thought to the fact that there choice not to get vaccinated may in fact endanger someone actual life, and infringe on there right to life.