Why do some people think that they are making a rational decision when they skip or delay their children’s vaccines?
Is it because they “know” that they are right?
Or because others reinforce their beliefs?
Is It Rational to Be Anti-Vaccine?
Whatever the reason, we should be clear that skipping or delaying vaccines, leaving your child at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease and putting others at risk, is really not a rational decision.
“It is not the case, of course, that people make decisions about vaccination based solely on rational, evidenced-based, scientific perspectives.”Timothy Caulfield et al on Injecting doubt: responding to the naturopathic anti-vaccination rhetoric
Instead, people often seem to skip or delay vaccines after fear helps a number of cognitive biases, heuristics, and logical fallacies take hold and change their perception of risk into something that is much different from reality. That fear is stoked by misinformation and propaganda they see on the Internet or hear from friends and family.
Or they become influenced by the idea that their child has been damaged or injured by a vaccine, even though in the great majority of cases, it has been shown that vaccines do not cause those problems.
“Well, if you’re going to inform yourself about vaccines, I think anybody who’s truly informed will realize that getting a vaccine is much better than not getting one. If you’re choosing not to vaccinate your child, it’s because you’re getting, frankly, bad information about vaccines.”Paul Offit, MD
So call it what you want, but no, in general, it is not rational to be anti-vaccine, especially considering that:
- to deny that vaccines are safe, effective, with few risks, and are necessary essentially means buying into a long list of conspiracy theories, from the idea that Big Pharma has convinced doctors around the world to intentionally poison everyone, to believing that vaccines don’t work and that vaccine-preventable diseases are mild or even good for you
- the overwhelming majority of experts have made statements advocating for vaccines
- the overwhelming majority of parents vaccinate their kids and themselves
- skipping or delaying vaccines offers no benefits for your kids, just the added risk that they might get sick and might get others sick too until you get them caught up
Do you know what the biggest clue that it isn’t a rational decision in most cases?
Changing Your Mind About Vaccines
When a rational person is given new evidence or information that not only challenges their worldview, but blows it out of the water, what do they do?
They change their mind.
“It is irrational to hold any view so tightly that you aren’t willing to admit the possibility that you might be wrong.”What would it take to convince you that you were wrong?
When do anti-vax folks change their minds?
More often than not, it is after one of their kids gets sick or there is a disease outbreak nearby.
If you are not vaccinating and protecting your kids, what would it take to get you to change your mind about vaccines?
Whatever it takes, hopefully you don’t wait too long and regret your decision.
More on the Idea of Rational Anti-Vaccine Beliefs
- Ask 8 Questions Before You Skip a Vaccine
- More Questions to Help You Become a Vaccine Skeptic
- 10 Reasons You Aren’t Vaccinating Your Kids
- What Are the Greatest Tricks Anti-Vaccine Folks Use to Persuade Parents to Skip Vaccines?
- How To Counter Vaccine Hesitancy
- The Missing Information That Big Pharma Won’t Tell You About Vaccines
- Vaccine Schedules from the 1940s to 2019
- Show Me the Vaccine Insert!
- Graphs That Show Vaccines Don’t Work
- The Fatal Flaw in the Anti-Vaccine Movement
- What would it take to convince you that you were wrong?
- Rationality and Choice in Childhood Vaccination
- Vaccine refusal is irrational and causes unnecessary deaths
- Refusing vaccination is anti-social, not irrational
- Here’s how irrational flu vaccine deniers are
- Lying About Vaccines
- Study – Injecting doubt: responding to the naturopathic anti-vaccination rhetoric
- Study – Beyond Rational Decision-Making: Modelling the Influence of Cognitive Biases on the Dynamics of Vaccination Coverage
- Hundreds rally to preserve right not to vaccinate children amid measles outbreak
- You Can Be the Pro-Life Parent of a Fully Vaccinated Child