Given the way both the internet and our political discourse works, by next week, we’ll probably have forgotten all about the (lack of) vaccination problem, so I’ll post this today. I’m not convinced that we can convince most anti-vaxxers to change their minds willingly–coercion, of one form or another, is probably needed. To the extent minds can be changed though, it’s important to understand the three reasons, as I see it, why people won’t vaccinate*:
1. Concern over toxins, damage to children, and so on.
2. Beliefs in individual freedom, keeping government out of the family and the like.
But, as I noted recently, there’s a third reason as well:
3. Religious reasons. There are the ‘traditional’ faith healers. Then there’s opposition to the MMR vaccine, because the rubella component (“R”) is made from cells that were originally derived from a fetus (and, yes, the irony of that position is horrifying).
On the conservative side of the anti-vaxx aisle, the third reason is probably significant (especially the rubella argument). It’s also probably underestimated, as some will use the first two reasons to avoid having to raise the rubella reason, since a fair number of conservatives think it’s daffy.
Like I mentioned, I’m not sure the ‘bitter dead-enders’ (to use a phrase) can be convinced. But if we are going to be successful, we have to acknowledge all three reasons to oppose vaccination.
*I’m leaving out sheer laziness or health insurance ‘instability’ during the typical age of vaccination (i.e., gaining and losing health insurance such that doctors’ appointments can’t be kept).