We hear a lot about fake news these days.
Fake news on Facebook, Twitter, and from our Google search results.
So who do you trust, especially on an important topic like vaccines?
Who to Trust About Vaccines
Hopefully you can trust your pediatrician, but the fact that we now have holistic pediatricians and “vaccine friendly” pediatricians who encourage parents to follow alternative schedules means that even then, you might be listening to the wrong person.
“Pediatricians who routinely recommend limiting the numbers of vaccines administered at a single visit such that vaccines are administered late are providing care that deviates from the standard evidence-based schedule recommended by these bodies.”
Edwards et al Countering Vaccine Hesitancy
What about a study published in a medical journal?
You have to trust that, right?
Not necessarily, considering that predatory, pay-to-publish journals are a thing. Just like they sound, these journals will publish just about anything – as long as your check clears.
So how do you find trusted vaccine information?
Which Vaccine Websites to Trust
You have to learn to be skeptical when looking for information about vaccines.
Some general questions experts recommend asking, and which will certainly help when visiting a website about vaccines, include:
- Who runs the Web site?
- Who pays for the Web site?
- What is the Web site’s purpose?
- What is the original source of the Web site’s information?
- How does the Web site document the evidence supporting its information?
- Who reviewed the information before the owner posted it on the Web site?
- How current is the information on the Web site?
- How does the Web site owner choose links to other sites?
- What are they selling?
Fortunately, anti-vaccine websites are fairly easy to spot.
They are often filled with vaccine injury stories and articles about how vaccines are filled with poison (they aren’t), don’t really work (they do), and aren’t even needed (they certainly are). And many will try to sell you fake vaccine detox kits and autism cures at the same time they are making you terrified about vaccines.
Tragically, their pseudo-scientific arguments can sometimes be persuasive, especially if you don’t understand that they are mostly the same old arguments that the anti-vaccine movement has been using for over 200 years to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
Which Vaccine Journals to Trust
Why do “fake” medical and science journals exist?
Probably because there is a lot of pressure to get published.
Unfortunately, almost all of them get listed in PubMed, which is why anti-vax folks with a list of studies from PubMed don’t usually get very far when trying to argue against the fact that vaccines work, are safe, and are necessary.
So how do you know if you can trust the conclusions of a medical study or journal article?
It can help if you look for studies about vaccines that:
- are published in a legitimate journal, like Vaccine or Pediatrics, and some of these high-impact journals
- are not published in predatory journals
- you can actually read, as just reading the abstract isn’t enough to know if you can really trust the conclusions that have been made in the article
- don’t involve simply looking at VAERS data
- are not written by folks with a conflict of interest that makes the article biased
- are written by people who have expertise on the topic they are writing about
Also know that research into the safety and efficacy of vaccines is much more complete than anti-vax “experts” lead (mislead) some vaccine-hesitant parents to believe. And that the great majority of people understand that the great benefits of vaccines far outweigh any small risks.
What to Know About Finding Trusted Vaccine Information
Learn to find trusted vaccine information, so you don’t get fooled by the latest tactics of the anti-vaccine movement.
More on Finding Trusted Vaccine Information
- Vast Majority of Americans Say Benefits of Childhood Vaccines Outweigh Risks
- Antivax 101: Tactics and Tropes of the Antivaccine Movement
- 10 steps for evaluating scientific papers
- Some Online Journals Will Publish Fake Science, For A Fee
- A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals
- Study – Finding Reliable Information About Vaccines
- Study – What makes anti-vaccine websites persuasive? A content analysis of techniques used by anti-vaccine websites to engender anti-vaccine sentiment
- Study – Content and design attributes of antivaccination web sites.
- Report – Countering Vaccine Hesitancy
- Study – A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine–Autism Wars
- Working out what’s reliable evidence
- Forming trust with vaccine fence-sitters
- Hierarchy of scientific evidence – keys to scientific skepticism
- Is that health information you’re reading on Facebook legit?
- Evaluating Health Information
- How To Evaluate Health Information on the Internet: Questions and Answers
- Finding Reliable Health Information Online
- Evaluating Health Information
- Finding and Evaluating Online Resources
- Tips for Searching the Internet for Health Information
- Evaluating Health Websites
- TRUTHFUL: A Method to Assist Patients with Evaluating Health Information on the Internet
- Information Resources: Whom do you trust? Evaluating Internet Health Resources
- Consumer health information seeking on the Internet: the state of the art
- Find Good Health Information
- Assessing the Quality of Internet Health Information
- Using Trusted Resources
- Trust It or Trash It?
- MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing
- Anti-Vaxx Websites, We’re Onto You
- Study – Assessing, controlling, and assuring the quality of medical information on the Internet: Caveant lector et viewor–Let the reader and viewer beware.