When vaccine hesitancy turns violent – Attacks on vaccination campaigns: Blog 2 (Published 6 April 2022) – World

Since 2016, Insecurity Insight monitoring has recorded 93 incidents of critical violence against vaccination campaigns in 16 countries. At least 65 vaccinators were killed and at least 50 were kidnapped.

Incidents of critical violence against vaccination campaigns have remained a regular feature since 2016, although COVID-19 related restrictions may have (at least partly) been responsible for a decrease in incidents in 2020 due to the suspension temporary vaccination deployments. According to our data, the most frequent targets of these attacks are polio vaccination campaigns.

Vaccination campaigns are particularly often violently attacked in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are the only two countries in the world where poliomyelitis has remained endemic. However, the phenomenon is growing, targeting vaccination campaigns against other diseases including COVID-19 (9 incidents), measles (4 incidents), cholera (2 incidents), Ebola and malaria (1 incident each).

More recently, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has widened the geographic scope of violence against vaccination campaigns to include countries where such incidents were previously less prevalent or virtually non-existent, such as India and France.