Many doctors, major news outlets, governmental organizations, and many everyday people say that vaccines are safe, effective, and have saved millions of lives. But this proposition does not become true through repetition. And the assertion of an “authority” cannot substitute for factual information to support this conclusion. Through discussing this topic with doctors and others, and researching the way that the vaccine industry works, I have found that people who believe vaccines are 100% safe and effective are either unaware of all of the evidence to the contrary or they are ignoring the evidence for one reason or another.
Before I researched this topic, I accepted that vaccines were safe and effective because I had heard it repeated so many times, and doctors recommended them to me. I knew that some people said there were problems with vaccines, but because anti-vaccine advocates are often ostracized and characterized as “crazy,” I accepted that any suggested problems with vaccines had been “discredited” without seriously considering the issue.
Even when we made the decision not to vaccinate our son, I was hesitant to discuss it with people because I know how people often perceive that choice. I was wrong to censor myself. Not speaking about my decision for fear of being ridiculed is exactly what vaccine propagandists want. This primitive, but effective form of mind control is one of the reasons that so many parents are afraid to even research this issue let alone make the choice to forgo vaccination.
Unfortunately, ridicule is not the only weapon in the pro-vaccine arsenal. In this Mother Jones article, Chris Mooney argues that parents should be forced to vaccinate because “trying to win [anti-vaxxers’] hearts and minds . . . wasn’t really working out anyway . . . .”
Mooney discovered how difficult it is to sway an “anti-vaxxer” with “facts” by reviewing a recent study in the journal Pediatrics in which parents received one of four pro-vaccine messages in an attempt to persuade them to give their children the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. None of the messages “increased parental intent to vaccinate a future child.” In fact, the researchers concluded that for some parents, the pro-vaccine messages “reduce vaccination intention.”
Imagine that. A study in which parents are fed CDC propaganda made parents less likely to vaccinate.
In my experience, people who are hesitant to vaccinate fall into one of two camps: (1) those who have a strong instinct against injecting their healthy children with pharmaceutical concoctions, but who have not done a lot of research into the factual basis for rejecting vaccines; and (2) those who have a strong instinctual and factual basis for rejecting vaccines. For people in the first camp, bringing up the link between vaccines and autism, or delivering a dramatic narrative about an infant in danger may have suggested problems with vaccines that they had not considered. People in the second camp know that the weight of the evidence is against vaccination. So it makes sense that listening to pro-vaccine messages, which they had likely already heard, delivered by vaccine advocates who aren’t giving due attention to the body of research against vaccines, would strengthen their resolve against vaccination.
But Mooney, eager to use the study as proof that “anti-vaxxers” must be forced to get their shots, chalks the results up to “vaccine deniers’ imperviousness to facts.”
Anyone who’s researched vaccines with an open mind knows that the facts support refusal. But far too many of us who know this are keeping silent about it because we don’t want to be ridiculed by bullies like Mooney.
The best way to fight this propaganda war is to talk about the decision not to vaccinate and share information. So that’s what I’m doing. A great place to start is simply reading the vaccine insert for any shot you’re considering. If you’re interested in researching this topic further, the documentary Silent Epidemic; The Untold Story Of Vaccines and this lecture by Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny are also great resources.