Tag: vaccine skeptic

What Makes Someone Anti-Vaccine?

Few people like to call themselves anti-vaccine.

Even Jessica Biel says that she isn't anti-vaccine...
Even Jessica Biel says that she isn’t anti-vaccine…

They instead choose other labels for themselves, such as pro-safe vaccine, pro-vaccine choice, pro-informed consent, or that they are a vaccine skeptic.

What Makes Someone Anti-Vaccine?

Don’t be fooled though.

Most people think that Jessica Biel is anti-vaccine.

Most of these folks are clearly anti-vaccine.

Do you think Jenny McCarthy is anti-vaccine?
Do you think Jenny McCarthy is anti-vaccine?

How can you tell?

Folks who are anti-vax push myths and misinformation about vaccines.

Whether it is because they believe that vaccines aren’t safe, aren’t necessary, or that they don’t work, they work to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

“You don’t have to dig far to know that vaccines have caused tremendous harm. Have they had benefits? Absolutely. Which is why I remain somewhat on the neutral side in saying that I am not anti-vaccine,” said Dr. Paul Thomas. “I’m pro-safe vaccines. I’ve progressed along to the point where I now don’t believe there is such a thing.”

Still not sure of the differences?

Does that sound like he isn't anti-vaccine?
Does that sound like he isn’t anti-vax?

You can typically tell if someone is anti-vaccine by how they answer common questions about vaccines. Ask about shedding, MTHFR, or SV40, etc.

Even Jim Carrey said that he wasn't anti-vaccine!
Even Jim Carrey said that he wasn’t anti-vax!

Remember when Kat Von D said she was going to raise her baby without vaccinations?

“Just to set the record straight from the beginning, I just want to say I am not anti-Semitic, and I am not an anti-vaxxer.

Kat Von D

Does that mean she is now vaccinating her kid?

“What I am is a first-time mother. I am one of those moms that reads everything. Anything that is going in my baby or on my baby, I research like a complete and total nerd. After doing a bunch of research and reading the ingredients, naturally I experienced some hesitancy.”

Kat Von D

Nope.

“Since then, we have decided as parents to consult with our pediatrician and just let him educate us and guide us. But, unlike before, I have learned my lesson and I am choosing not to make our decision or any of our baby’ s health records public.”

Kat Von D

Hopefully she chose a pediatrician who isn’t anti-vaccine…

Celebrities Who Say They Aren’t Anti-Vaccine

Who else has said that they aren’t anti-vax?

  • Robert “I’m not anti-vaccine. I want safe vaccines.” DeNiro
  • Mayim “we are a non-vaccinating family… but I’m not anti” Bailik
  • Jenna “I’m not anti-vax” Elfman
  • Kirstie “I’m not ANTI vaccines but we MUST take responsibility 4 choosing which ones WE give OUR children & ourselves. They aren’t ALL harmless” Alley

Anyone else?

More on What Makes Someone Anti-Vaccine?

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

We know that historically, the media has done a very good job of scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

From pushing vaccine misinformation and vaccine scare stories to providing false balance about vaccine stories, many in the media have promoted myths and fake controversies when reporting about vaccines.

Things have been getting better though.

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

Or have they…

The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.
The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.

Do you see what’s wrong with the TODAY Show story about Jessica Biel?

Are they really asking whether or not vaccines are safe?!?

It’s not a debate!

Vaccines are safe!

HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.
Even HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.

Did they really get called out by HuffPo for irresponsibly covering vaccines?

You might realize how ironic that is if you remember just how bad HuffPo used to be, regularly posting some of the worst anti-vaccine stories. Have they gotten better?

The HuffPo is better, but certainly not perfect, by any means…

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is not a vaccine skeptic!

The TODAY Show’s Coverage of Vaccines

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that the TODAY show has scared parents away from vaccines. After all, they are the ones who aired excerpts of Vaccine Roulette, the show which many people credit with starting the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn't a debate!
Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn’t a debate!

More recently, the TODAY Show had Robert De Niro on to talk about Andrew Wakefield‘s VAXXED.

The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.
The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.

After so many missteps in the past, the TODAY Show shouldn’t be making these kinds of mistakes anymore.

If they do, there will be plenty of folks ready to call them out.

More on the TODAY is Show Stoking Vaccine Fears

More Questions to Help You Become a Vaccine Skeptic

Are you skeptical about vaccinating your kids?

What is a vaccine skeptic?

That’s good!

You should be skeptical of just about everything. Many of us are.

It’s good to ask questions, do research, and doubt what people tell you…

The thing is, you can’t just be skeptical about stuff you don’t want to believe. You should be skeptical about everything. So don’t blindly buy into anti-vaccine arguments because they’re what you want to hear.

They’re likely the type of propaganda you need to be more skeptical of!

More Questions to Help You Become a Vaccine Skeptic

Wait, why would I want you to become a vaccine skeptic?

Well, if you do it right, you are going to realize that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and that they are very necessary.

Our first 8 questions hopefully got you started on seeing through anti-vaccine arguments, but here are some more you should think about:

  1. If the MMR vaccine is associated with autism, then how come the incidence of autism went up when they stopped using the MMR vaccine in Japan? Remember, Japan stopped using the combination MMR vaccine in 1993 because it had been linked to aseptic meningitis (the problem was with the mumps vaccine strain they were using, which was different than the one used in the United States, where there was no aseptic meningitis issue). And rates of autism have increased in Japan, just as they have in other countries. So much for the idea that the MMR vaccine is associated with autism, right?
  2. If vaccines don’t even work, then how come every time vaccination rates have dropped in an area, we have seen outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases?
  3. If vaccines are associated with SIDS, then why did the incidence of SIDS go down so much when we put infants to sleep on their backs, even as they were vaccinated and protected against more diseases?
  4. If vaccines don’t really work and we just change the names of the diseases, like smallpox became monkeypox, then where are all of the kids with monkeypox?!?
  5. If vaccines are associated with SIDS, then why didn’t the incidence of SIDS go down in Sweden when they stopped using the DPT vaccine between 1979 and 1996?
  6. Why didn’t the reanalysis of CDC’s MMR autism data, the whole thing behind the CDC Whistleblower and Brian Hooker’s paper (which ended up being retracted), find an association between the MMR vaccine and autism in everyone, not just the small subset of African American males?
  7. If the Brady Bunch measles episode was supposed to push the idea that measles was mild, then why did Marsha end up vaccinating her own kids?
  8. What else do you believe? Do you believe in chemtrails? Homeopathy? That you shouldn’t treat kids with cancer with chemotherapy?

Be more skeptical of the misinformation that anti-vaccine folks use to scare you away from vaccinating and protecting your kids.

More on Becoming a Vaccine Skeptic

Who’s Who in the Anti-Vaccine Movement

No, this isn’t another article about Andy Wakefield or Jenny McCarthy.

Defining the Anti-Vaccine Movement

The great majority of people know that vaccine work and that they are safe and necessary.

And then there are the folks who don’t.

“The term movement as a description for vaccine deniers is also very misleading. A movement implies the image of a powerful, coordinated group, united by a shared collective identity.”

WHO on How to respond to vocal vaccine deniers in public

It is important to understand that this minority of people who do not believe in vaccines do not have uniform beliefs. Calling them a movement is simply for convenience, as a way to group them all together.

Who’s Who in the Anti-Vaccine Movement

So who are the different types of people that you might come across in various discussions about vaccines?

More importantly, why do you want to know?

You don’t want to think that everyone who questions the safety or efficacy of vaccines is totally anti-vaccine and is going to refuse some or all vaccines. Some of these parents really do just have questions, want to get educated, and may have just been scared by misinformation. On the other hand, others won’t change their minds no matter what new evidence you bring to the table or how long you talk.

“Although many may characterize all individuals who eschew vaccines as “anti-vaccine” or “vaccine deniers,” in reality there is a broad spectrum of individuals who choose not to have themselves or their children vaccinated.”

Tara C Smith on Vaccine Rejection and Hesitancy: A Review and Call to Action

However you characterize the groups, you will be much less frustrated when talking about vaccines if can quickly recognize if you are talking to someone who is:

  • a go along to get along immunization acceptor – this type of cautious acceptor understands and accepts that vaccines work and that they are safe and necessary, but still may have some doubts about one or more vaccines.
  • an immunization advocate – understands, accepts, and helps teach others that vaccines work and that they are safe and necessary.
  • a vaccine denier – someone who does not accept the process of vaccination while denying scientific evidence and employing rhetorical arguments to give the false appearance of legitimate debate. These are the vaccine rejectors who are “unyieldingly entrenched in their refusal to consider vaccine information.”
  • vaccine hesitant – usually a classic fence-sitter, who has doubts about whether vaccines are really safe or necessary or has simply been scared and influenced about something they read on the Internet. They may skip or delay some vaccines, but are typically willing to listen to why getting their child fully vaccinated is their best and safest option.
  • a vaccine refuser – doesn’t vaccinate their kids or themselves, but unlike the vaccine denier, probably doesn’t have very strong beliefs in conspiracy theories and may be willing to listen if you address their concerns about vaccines. They are also sometimes called the vaccine resistant. Often seem to put aside their beliefs against vaccines in special circumstances, like during outbreaks or other high risk situations.
  • a vaccine skeptic – this term is often misused, as classically, a vaccine skeptic would be defined as a person who has questions about vaccines, but then accepts that they are safe and necessary once they have examined all of the evidence. As a skeptic, they would also question all of the “science” of the anti-vaccine movement too, and would find it lacking. Folks who question vaccines, but then ignore all of the evidence that supports their safety and effectiveness are in denial – they are not vaccine skeptics.
  • a vocal vaccine denier – a vaccine denier who influences others, especially on the Internet.
  • one of the worrieds – often immunization acceptors who are still a little worried about vaccine side effects.

What about those who say that they are pro-safe vaccines or pro-choice about vaccines?

Don’t be fooled, these are simply anti-vaccine arguments of a vaccine denier or refuser.

Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey went on a mission to Green Our Vaccines in 2008.
Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey went on a mission to Green Our Vaccines in 2008. How would you classify them?

Still having trouble telling the groups apart?

Try asking the person you are talking to what would change their mind about vaccines.

Would new evidence work? Or would they dismiss any new evidence as being biased, just as they already dismiss all of the evidence that  so strongly supports that vaccines are safe and necessary?

It is important to identify who’s who, because while you will likely not change the mind of someone who is at the stage of being a vaccine denier, you have a much better chance to help the others get their kids vaccinated and protected.

What to Know About Defining the Anti-Vaccine Movement

The anti-vaccine movement includes a lot of different groups of people, from those who are simply hesitant because a friend or family member is scaring them on Facebook to the vocal vaccine denier, who probably wouldn’t even change their mind if they were bitten by a rabid dog.

More About Defining the Anti-Vaccine Movement