All of Anti-Vaccination Gall Can Be Divided Into Three Parts


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).

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4 Responses to All of Anti-Vaccination Gall Can Be Divided Into Three Parts

  1. MtMB: I tend to agree with your spectrum of the mindsets of those against vaxx, is there a spectrum of desirability / utility of vaccines in your view tho??

  2. jonolan says:

    For once, assuming your censorship even allows this comment, we’re pretty much in agreement.

    It’s a little maddening how bipartisan / nonpartisan the anti-vaccine crowd is. It’s also, as you said, important to point out the disparate reasons / rationales for their beliefs.

    And yes, I’m someone who has moral qualms about using the byproducts of murdered babies to save other babies from harm. I’m also, however, someone who knows that the fetal stem cells in use are also gathered from the byproducts of normal births.

  3. I dunno, I tend to agree with one of the articles I read on the topic that says that some of this is really about privilege and about wanting to be seen as experts and special in their little crack-pot communities. They say it is your #1, but if it weren’t vaccines, it would just be something else. That’s why the target keeps moving (mercury to aluminum…).

    But I also think that these hard-core non-vaxxers are the minority of the non-vaxxers (and are not the ones that study was done on), and that one Oprah special would convince the majority of non-vaxxers to change their minds.

  4. Felicis says:

    I wonder how much of that (#1 especially, but to a lesser extent #3 as well) is driven by allowing naturopaths and chiropractors to act as though they are real doctors in some states (like my state of Oregon – Naturopaths are considered to be doctors and many insurance companies allow them to be considered the members’ primary care physicians – is it any surprise that Oregon has the lowest rate of vaccination in the nation?

    It doesn’t help when ‘doctors’ are actively telling people to be worried about chemicals (and that homeopathy will help instead).

    If it were up to me, insurance would not cover any alt-med.

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