Mitigating the effects of climate change on human health with vaccines and vaccinations.
Climate change represents an unprecedented threat to humanity and will be the ultimate challenge of the 21st century. As a public health consequence, the World Health Organization estimates an additional 250,000 deaths annually by 2030, with resource-poor countries being predominantly affected. Although climate change's direct and indirect consequences on human health are manifold and far from fully explored, a growing body of evidence demonstrates its potential to exacerbate the frequency and spread of transmissible infectious diseases. Effective, high-impact mitigation measures are critical in combating this global crisis. While vaccines and vaccination are among the most cost-effective public health interventions, they have yet to be established as a major strategy in climate change-related health effect mitigation. In this narrative review, we synthesize the available evidence on the effect of climate change on vaccine-preventable diseases. This review examines the direct effect of climate change on water-related diseases such as cholera and other enteropathogens, helminthic infections and leptospirosis. It also explores the effects of rising temperatures on vector-borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and malaria, as well as the impact of temperature and humidity on airborne diseases like influenza and respiratory syncytial virus infection. Recent advances in global vaccine development facilitate the use of vaccines and vaccination as a mitigation strategy in the agenda against climate change consequences. A focused evaluation of vaccine research and development, funding, and distribution related to climate change is required.
Peer reviewed: True
Acknowledgements: The authors thank Ji Yeon Lee, librarian at IVI for helpful literature search and references.