Anti-Vaxxers: Conspirators, Lunatics, Or None Of The Above?
Updated: Jan 15
Disclaimer: This blog post is proudly sponsored by NuCalm but all opinions are my own. NuCalm is the world’s only patented neuroscience technology clinically proven to resolve stress and improve sleep quality – without drugs. NuCalm is used by the U.S. Military & the FBI, 49 Professional Sports Teams and recommended by 98% of patients. If you aren’t familiar, NuCalm is only $29.99 a month, and they offer a 30-day risk-free guarantee. Our readers can also get 3 months free with coupon code Recharge25. As a NuCalm affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.
Thanks to vaccines, many diseases that terrorized entire towns and cities and killed millions a hundred years ago are only known to us today through history books and the only thing they kill are attention spans. Many of these diseases we’ve thankfully never even heard of, unless you’re a med student, if you are, well yay you!
However, the WHO has detected more than 40,000 cases of measles since 2019, when as of 2016 only 5,000 cases had been registered. That is not the most disturbing thing, almost all of those cases from 2016 were in countries like South Sudan, a country in crisis whose population has little or no access to medicines and a decent health system. In the increasing cases of the last couple of years, they have been detected in the United States and Europe, but how is that possible?
Some celebrities like Jessica Biel and Jenny McCarthy have made public their position as anti-vaxxers, and thanks to this, the word has spread like a pandemic on speed about this so-called “movement.”
There are more and more parents who decide not to vaccinate their children each day, albeit for different reasons, and with the Covid-19 vaccine already being implemented in several countries around the world, this belief has garnered strength. For some, they enter the group of tin foil hats conspiranoids, since many allege that vaccines are a Bill Gates strategy to implant microchips in us. Scientifically unlikely, but as the plot of a new sci-fi movie saga? A sure success. Most, however, are people like you and me, well-wishing, with good intentions, but massively misinformed.
Wrong But Not Lunatics
Let's take a look at the context and origin of anti-vaxxers for a moment to understand them better because the discussion is not as simple as "you people are crazy!" since that argument has never worked, if it did, there would be no people who pour milk before cereal *mouths WTF*. Are they the real lunatics? A study worth discussing, but perhaps for another time.
Despite what WHO studies say, anti-vaxxers have not only existed for two or three years, in fact, their existence is as old as vaccines themselves. Since the first vaccine was created, which was to combat the smallpox epidemic, there have been many sceptics of this practice. The majority were religious, since they considered getting vaccinated was something unnatural and against God's rules. Others, outside of religious beliefs, simply doubted that inoculating a disease was a good idea so as not to contract a different disease. Since then, the rejection of vaccines has continued, the difference, the biggest difference rather, is the internet.
Fake News Is Waaaaaaay More Fun To Read
The internet has been a catalyst for conspiracy theories and misinformation, and although it has given us very valuable things like cat videos and memes, it has also been responsible for things we wish we could press delete on; remember the Microsoft paperclip?
Facebook groups of anti-vaxxer parents have multiplied and people who hold this belief have larger and larger audiences, but if there is so much reliable information about the effectiveness of vaccines, why do so many people still doubt them?
There are several factors, the first is a bit ironic, but it is the success of the vaccines itself. The fact that we can control and even eradicate entire diseases to the point of not knowing their existence, makes us forget the risk that not being vaccinated can cause.
“Why do I have to get vaccinated for polio? I've never heard of someone who died from it!”
Yeah, that's because people are vaccinated, silly! It’s difficult to explain the dangers of a disease that you’ve never seen in your lives, yes you can mention all the horrific effects, but this isn’t enough for some of us, they have to see it to believe it, and sadly this causes people to hesitate in vaccinating their children.
Worse still, we are in the age of informational bias. Have you ever wondered why fake news spreads so fast and real news doesn't? This effect has a psychological explanation. it’s all thanks to our alert mechanism, an instinct that we’ve had since primitive times and has helped us to survive. This keeps us vigilant against any possible danger, although sometimes it’s not even there, perceived danger is enough to trigger this mechanism. So the fact that ten thousand people used the escalator in a shopping center is not news, but that one person was trapped and killed in one that travels the world in seconds, and we began to fear the escalators.
This is also the reason why so many people fear flying, although airplanes are the safest method of travel, the news of plane accidents, although incredibly rare, are shocking and our alert mechanism tells us: “airplanes go boom, airplanes bad” (why did I just say that in the Hulk voice? Oh come on! You did it too). One piece of news that a person died from a vaccine has a much greater impact on our brain than a thousand pieces of news of the safety, medical efficacy and success of vaccines.
Last thing and you can leave. What we need to keep in mind is that directly attacking a person's beliefs only causes more polarization, so the next time you take on an anti-vaxxer comment on Facebook, don't be too quick to insult them, think a bit in the context of that person. Although the large number of people who have stopped vaccinating their children represents a HUGE global health risk, we must understand that these people are not crazy, to get them on our side, believe it or not, we need empathy, so be kind, and perhaps kindness will, in the end, save the world.
This blog post is proudly sponsored by NuCalm but all opinions are my own. NuCalm is the world’s only patented neuroscience technology clinically proven to resolve stress and improve sleep quality – without drugs. NuCalm is used by the U.S. Military & the FBI, 49 Professional Sports Teams and recommended by 98% of patients. If you aren’t familiar, NuCalm is only $29.99 a month, and they offer a 30-day risk-free guarantee. Our readers can also get 3 months free with coupon code Recharge25. As a NuCalm affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.