Why vaccine opponents think they know more than medical experts
One of the most contentious areas of health policy over the past two decades has been the safety of vaccination. Vaccines prevent the outbreak of diseases that used to be widespread, like polio, and scientific consensus strongly supports their safety. Yet many Americans refuse or delay the vaccination of their children out of fear that it could lead to autism, even though scientific consensus refutes this claim.
Anti-vaccine attitudes have been fueled in large part by growing rates of autism diagnoses as well as a now debunked study in The Lancet that linked autism and the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine – pushing many parents to see vaccination as a potential explanation for their child’s autism diagnosis.
The growing “anti-vax” movement here and abroad has seen parents refuse to give their children mandatory school vaccinations, growing numbers of celebrities questioning vaccine safety, and even pet owners refusing to vaccinate their dogs – forcing the British Veterinary Association to issue a statement in April that dogs cannot develop autism.
Given the consistent message from the scientific community about the safety of vaccines, and evidence of vaccine success as seen through the eradication of diseases, why has the skepticism about vaccines continued?
Source: The Conversation