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Not all people are ready to join the benefits of civilization, considering them dubious. Some deliberately do not use mobile phones, computers, and modern modes of transport. There was also such a social movement as anti-vaccination. It challenges medical advances and the need for vaccinations.
Parents of children who refuse vaccinations are being fought by health workers and officials. They argue that such a move leads to a weakening of the immune system and increases the risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases. Antivaccinators themselves consider themselves to be innovative people, but the public discusses them. Angry exclamations make it difficult to look at the problem objectively and listen to the parents themselves.
Anti-vaccination has turned out to be shrouded in numerous myths. It is worth understanding in detail what is behind this phenomenon, why people avoid vaccination and how they can be persuaded.
Any parent who does not want to vaccinate their child is an anti-vaccinator. There is a layer of people who do not trust vaccines. A decisive rejection of them is an extreme measure in this group, the basis of which is simply doubting and entangled in the advice of numerous experts. Most parents who do not fully vaccinate their children cannot be considered antivaccinators. These are just living people who are trying to find the best solution for their offspring here and now. Some do not want to be vaccinated, and nothing, in principle, will force them to do it. Others simply do not dare or fear the consequences. Someone does not trust a particular vaccine, especially if there are bad reviews about it. But all of them can not be ranked as anti-vaccinators. Such a measure will only aggravate the situation and will not provide an opportunity to convince parents that their opinion is wrong.
The anti-vaccination movement began in 1998 after the Wakefield fraud and attempts to link vaccinations to autism. Vaccine refusals came along with the vaccines themselves. It is quite easy to find out exactly when this story began. In 1796, Edward Jenner was the first to be vaccinated. The test subject was 9-year-old James Phipps, who was injected with the cowpox virus. As soon as mankind received the vaccine, its opponents were immediately found. In those days, it seemed inconceivable to inject a weakened virus into your bloodstream. And these disputes have been going on for more than a century. True, the reason for fears has changed during this time. Few believe that vaccination can kill babies as previously thought. In the 1980s, anti-vaccinators fought against DPT vaccinations. Lawyer Barbara Fischer even founded an influential anti-vaccine organization. This is how the Orwellian-sounding National Vaccine Information Center was born in 1982. The publication of the Wakefield materials was just another reason for the entrenched community to abandon the vaccine.
There are more and more supporters of anti-vaccination. There is no evidence to support this myth. And this group of people itself can hardly be called a movement. In fact, they are just organized activists who spread blatantly false information and feed parental fears. The next layer is parents who discuss vaccination issues and share their thoughts on social networks. However, the vast majority of people just go about their business and do what is best for their children. The number can be estimated using non-medical exemptions, which allow Western parents to send their children to school without the necessary vaccinations. Nothing is known about the increase in the number of such norms. And new laws in the American states have reduced state control in this matter. But even such data will tell nothing about the number of refuseniks. The child could have been released as his mother did not want to miss the vaccination, but he fell ill with something else. The parents might not have time to get the release, although it was not difficult to do so. It happens that adults refuse a vaccine, expecting to receive another drug. Despite everything, childhood vaccination rates in the United States are uniformly high everywhere. The number of those who refuse the vaccine does not exceed half a percent. This is so little that it is impossible to talk about any number of such people. They could just as well be unicorns and get lost in the crowd. It's about the level of error.
Parents who do not vaccinate their children are either dirty hippies or believe in a conspiracy of pharmaceutical companies. Those who refuse vaccines are an extremely heterogeneous group. It is impossible to talk about any specific political predilections. Studies have shown that the majority of people, regardless of their views, support vaccination. Those who believe in the conspiracy of companies or governments are an absolute minority, even among those who refused vaccinations. Someone fights against GMOs, breastfeeds up to 7 years old, refuses essential oils - are there so few freaks in society? Attempts to find a common identity among the vaccine refusal group have been unsuccessful. One of the more recent stories was related to the Amish, while the previous one was related to Orthodox Jews. The researchers tried to figure out the reasons for the failure based on 70 cases. It turned out that the context becomes decisive: time, place, type of vaccine. The factors that unite hesitant people are not easy to categorize. Parents think more about what can happen to the child in case of side effects of the injection, rather than assess the imminent danger in case of refusal from it. Mother's age appears to be a strong factor. Younger women are more likely to hesitate due to lack of experience. As a group, anti-vaccinators have only one thing in common: they refuse vaccinations. And that's all.
Parents who do not vaccinate their children want them to get sick naturally. Desiring sickness for your children sounds like a joke. In fact, anti-vaccinators are afraid of disease, but they are even more afraid of the vaccine and its possible consequences. There are really a tiny number of those who want natural illnesses for children, but these are the real madmen who need to work with the appropriate social services. There are mothers who allow their children to be vaccinated against tetanus, but not for meningitis. After all, this vaccine will not protect against all possible strains. Here we are talking about risk assessment. It seems to people that serious illnesses are gradually disappearing. So why take the risk with a vaccine and protect yourself from something that is no longer a threat? But diseases would disappear altogether if people used the vaccine without exception. This is exactly what happened with smallpox. The risk of illness is still higher than the risks of side effects of the vaccine. And here the health authorities should already work and conduct educational work. Otherwise, parents make decisions based on their own experience and suspicions. It is the misinformation that is to blame, not the parents' desire to survive the illness of their children.
Parents who do not vaccinate their children are simply stupid and uninformed. They are often very smart, educated and sociable people. The fact is that the information they have is simply incorrect. Research has shown that motivated reasoning determines how people feel about threats. There is a defense of their own belief system. It's not about education (sometimes even highly intelligent people refuse the vaccine), but about how much a person believes in something. And the fact that some nonvaccinating parents may be highly educated is part of the problem. People with high incomes and good education are aware of themselves as smart and possessing certain knowledge in life, able to make decisions and manage processes. Such people feel right, as do those who have studied the vaccine for years. They fall prey to overestimating their own research skills. Repairing household appliances is difficult for them and requires calling a specialist, but the question of the vaccine is clear and does not need specialized knowledge. This topic is not considered from the standpoint of science, but from the standpoint of publicly available information. It should be considered pride, but not stupidity. It is important to separate the uninformed from the misguided. Many parents who refuse vaccinations spend their days looking for a better remedy. To call them stupid is to miss the crux of the problem. Those who do not believe in this should try to convince such a parent. In response, you will hear a lot of arguments with links to relevant medical research, which will make your head spin. In fact, these studies either speak of something completely different, or are atypical examples, poorly conducted experiments, refuted by subsequent research, or simply biased. The very existence of anti-vaccinator sites Serry Tenpenny and Collie Brogan debunks the myth of their stupidity. There are carefully selected studies that purposefully suggest the idea of the dangers of vaccinations. This pseudo-intellect kit will be very convincing to non-specialists.
Parents who do not vaccinate their children consider themselves smarter than doctors. This is not always the case. Such people do not consider themselves smarter or more stupid than doctors. You just have confidence in having the best information on this topic, even if it is actually not there. There are good doctors and bad doctors, some had to graduate with the worst marks on the course. Likewise, opinions on vaccines may vary. It is the doctors who spread misinformation. If the doctor prescribes antibiotics, then there is nothing wrong with asking about the need for such a course. Likewise, there may be questions about vaccines. Answers from the series: "I decided so" and "listen to the doctor" do not inspire confidence. No doctor can keep track of all vaccination material, new articles appear every week, and parents know this. They come with a bunch of research, pointing out the possible risks and raising their claims. Of course, the doctor had never seen these studies before. Answering reasonably is part of a doctor's job. Any parent wants to be dispelled. This is by no means an insult to a specialist, but a form of communication between a doctor and a patient. Doctors usually try not to dive into these issues, cursing meticulous parents. Doctors often do not have enough time to study and resolve issues with anxious parents. This is the root of the problem, parents begin to consider themselves smarter than specialists. The high requirements for information, alas, are not being realized. It so happens that doctors, whom people initially trust, start to get nervous and even show aggression when asked about vaccinations. Such an attitude is repulsive and makes you postpone the decision.
Antivaccinators fear that their children will become autistic. There is a popular myth that vaccination can lead to childhood autism. In fact, parents have a lot of fears about the vaccine, but this disease is low on the list, if present at all. Again, we can think of Dr. Wakefield's fraudulent study that tried to link vaccinations to autism. Then it caused people to worry. But since then, dozens of studies have been conducted that have not confirmed the existence of such a connection. But there are still those who believe in this myth. But for the majority, this fear has long passed, now there are more and more fears from the series of "too much", "too early" or "toxic components". The use of the autism myth is offensive to families with this problem, as well as to those who need to address their situation.
Antivaccinators fear or believe the same thing. Parents refuse vaccination for a variety of reasons. Doubts and beliefs can have their own reasons. Uncertainty about vaccination is complex. Some are afraid of side effects, others refuse for religious or philosophical reasons, others do not trust the authorities or pharmaceutical companies, and some consider the disease not serious. People may have fears about certain components of the vaccine, and the child may be unstable. Someone has an unpleasant personal experience of vaccination, a bad experience with a past doctor is possible. There are those who had a bad childhood vaccination themselves and did not want the same for their children, someone had a bad reaction to medications. It even happens that the doctor himself dissuades from vaccination! One study identified as many as 147 factors that were somehow related to vaccine rejection, delays in decision making, or eventual decision making. It is important to understand this, as otherwise the problem cannot be solved. If all anti-vaccinators are gathered into a single mass and one label is attached, then you will not know the real reason. Unfortunately for healthcare, there is still no single problem, no single solution.
Anti-vaccinators are egotistical narcissists. The most active nonvaccinating parents are crazy about their children, taking care of their safety. And this is a priority measure for any normal person. Nature itself has genetically taught us to take care of our offspring. Tara Norman, a mother of two unvaccinated children from Maryland, said that her children received their first vaccinations successfully. The doctors forced her to do this, accusing the mother of selfishness. Now she understands that in the event of an outbreak of the disease, she will have to keep the children at home. But that's not because she's a narcissist or a bad person. The mother believes that it will be better for her children in the end. Are there selfish people who don’t vaccinate and care for children? Of course have. Some send their kids to school with peanut butter and jelly sandwich, although classmates are allergic to these foods. Parents can show their selfishness in different areas, no one can say that there are more narcissists among non-vaccinators than among vaccinators. And the alienation of such egoists will not solve the problem. Are anti-vaccinators bad people? Again it is worth emphasizing about misinformation and delusion, but this is not evidence of selfishness. People are doing the best for their children by fulfilling their parental duty as they understand it.
You can blame anti-vaccinators and make them change their mind and get vaccinated. Making someone feel bad while trying to protect their child will not help change behavior, especially if people are already outside of traditional attitudes. The blogs are full of comments and accusations of anti-vaccination workers in promoting the spread of epidemics across the country. But this anger is not justified. Accusations and insults will not solve the problem. Articles are published that blame the movement itself, but not individual parents. But this approach is doomed to failure, given the lack of a unified society and the idea of anti-vaccinators. It is difficult to debunk the idea when each family has its own, determined by the environment and circumstances. Attacks only increase mistrust and refusal to discuss the issue, increasing polarization in society. Accusations are in vogue today. Research has shown that vaccine opt-out groups are a small geographic group. Social networks also help.People who are convinced that they are right communicate with like-minded people. Accusations and criticism just don't get inside the circle. And attempts to attack society can provoke a backlash. Humans are social creatures who rely on their social group for protection.
Anti-vaccinators are simply listening to Jenny McCarthy and Andrew Wakefield. Many charlatans are spreading misinformation about vaccination. Parents can come across any material, perhaps simply not of high quality. Wakefield deserves all sorts of censure for his work of vilifying vaccinations. Actress Jenny McCarthy also played a role. But many parents came to this idea on their own, do not look for a scapegoat. There are many other respected authors who deny the importance of vaccines: Joseph Mercola, Mike Adams, Sherry Tenpenny, Barbara Lowe Fisher, Dan Olmsted, Brian Hooker, and many, many others. These people seem to be proving the existence of an anti-vaccination conspiracy. Acting with the best of intentions, they only bombard gullible people with disinformation. Highly educated citizens go to the Internet to find the truth there and find numerous studies of the above figures. It's easy to think that people have succumbed to the opinion of a celebrity like McCarthy. However, there are examples of Amanda Peet, Keri Russell, Salma Hayek, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Garner and others who have also refused vaccinations. For them, a show business star of the second or third magnitude is certainly not an authority. In fact, one of the most influential factors in making this decision is one's own close social ties.
You just need to give parents convincing facts about the vaccine, and this will convince them. Merely providing information is not enough to change a decision and may even backfire. If the problem were only poor information, then the health officials would have solved it long ago. Reliable and verified information is abundantly available in the public domain. However, for many, the brain works differently. People believe that the basic information is already clear to everyone, but additional justification must be found. They do not understand that they already have everything they need. Research has shown that when antivaccinators are confronted with factors that contradict their beliefs, they further deny the obvious and deny vaccinations. Corrective information is somehow counterproductive. There is another study that shows people wanting to engage in motivated reasoning to protect their own beliefs, including fears. For a person to change his mind and change his behavior, it is necessary to find out his values and fears and help to fit vaccines into the current coordinate system, preventing vaccinations from joining phobias.
We need to make vaccination mandatory for everyone, this will solve the problem. People have short memories. American practice has shown that in some states a universal immunization program was adopted. The laws seemed logical after the measles epidemic in 1989-1991. However, the hype soon subsided, and immediately there were those who at the highest level began to lobby for the abolition of such laws. When there are rules that are binding on everyone, there will always be opponents of such rules. And when the negative basis for them is forgotten, even more so. Negative decision perception refers to those risks that have been artificially imposed. And the risks in which a person consciously participates are taken for granted. Some benefit is even derived from them, as the person tries to control the situation. Even the most stringent vaccine laws may not work if they are poorly implemented. So, conditional vaccination was allowed in California. Parents promised to do it on their own, outside of school. As a result, 7.5% of children took advantage of this opportunity. Even in prosperous America, health authorities do not have the ability to enforce such laws. The approach is constantly swinging like a pendulum. The authorities are thinking about how to keep the existing system, but make it more convenient.
Antivaccinators are hopeless - they will never change their minds. This myth sounds fatalistic. If we are talking about the most zealous supporters of the concept, then it will no longer be possible to convince them. But many others are quite capable of changing their point of view. History has shown that the number of anti-vaccinators is gradually decreasing. There will always be such people, but there will never be many of them. There are parents who refuse for non-medical reasons, but most simply hesitate or vaccinate their children with selective vaccines. It is the medical profession's job to provide the remedy required and to prove to people the importance of the solution. The key is to recognize that there are different types of parents in relation to the vaccine. They cannot be considered hopeless, because in the end they are simply trying to make the best decision based on the information available. Vaccination is an important achievement of modern medicine. But she became a hostage to her success. People have forgotten how severe the epidemics were and what we are saving ourselves from with the help of vaccinations. Only a spike in the incidence may make some think about the benefits and harms of vaccination. In such a situation, you have to make a mature decision. And at this moment people open up and are ready to change their minds about vaccinations.