Understanding and battling antivaxxers

By Emma Bessinger, Reporter



Noun informal

a person who is opposed to vaccination, typically a parent who does not wish to vaccinate their child.
“experts say several diseases that are avoidable are making a comeback due to anti-vaxxers who refuse to vaccinate their kids”

Anti-Vaxxers are an extremely controversial topic in America. With many meme pages on Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and other social media sites dedicated to arguing both sides, some people who refuse vaccines have many reasons to do so. One of the main reasons is being immunocompromised, but others have flimsy arguments.



Many Anti-Vaxxers claim religious reasons for their choice, though most modern religions don’t mention vaccinations.

There’s a wide belief that diseases have been eradicated by improvements in hygiene and sanitation, but it was proven wrong by the recent second coming of previously labeled eradicated diseases due to low vaccination rates. Once eradicated diseases may seem long gone, but if the population does not obtain and sustain herd immunity via vaccines infections will start, again.

Most anti-vaxxers are skeptical of Pharmaceutical companies “Big Pharma.” Claiming the medical professionals push useless or even harmful products on the population merely for profit, and have zero regards on how the products will effect on people.

The skepticism of Big Pharma leads to a belief that vaccines don’t actually protect people. For example, the flu shot, many people who get the shot still get the flu, but their symptoms are very mild compared to unvaccinated people.


Demonizing Autism




 a developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behavior.

In 1998, a paper was published by British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield, and his colleagues. The paper was about eight children who showed symptoms of autism after receiving the MMR vaccine (Measles, mumps, and rubella). From the experiment, “Wakefield postulated that the MMR vaccine caused intestinal inflammation that led to translocation of usually nonpermeable peptides to the bloodstream and, subsequently, to the brain, where they affected development.”

The experiment was concluded as false and flawed, as no control group was present, meaning there was a prevention of determining the results as effects or mere coincidence. Though the association of autism presenting itself around ages one-two and the MMR vaccine being distributed to those ages made the paper a believable lie.

Since the initial paper, there have been 20 epidemiologic studies on the relation of Autism to vaccines, all of which have come back negative. This and the fact science has discovered autism forms in the womb, means humans should no longer be scared of their shots.

Now the problem with this is it demonizes autism. Autism affects a large portion of people, and not vaccinating your children due to a nonexistent risk tells those people “I’d rather have my child die (of a preventable disease) than have a child who is autistic.” ——“Essentially, it seems to imply that death is preferable to autism — whether that’s the death of one’s own unvaccinated child or the deaths of other innocent people whose health was endangered by exposure to others who chose not to vaccinate,” https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/claudiakoerner/autism-anti-vax-misinformation-spread-measles-cures

Vaccine injury

A vaccine adverse event sometimes referred to as a vaccine injury, is an adverse event caused by vaccination.

Vaccine injuries are very rare, and many claims of vaccine injury are symptoms resembling other disease syndromes that occur for different reasons.”The appearance of one of these conditions shortly after vaccination may be misinterpreted as a cause-and-effect situation, difficult to prove or disprove in an individual case. Many of the alleged severe injuries from pertussis vaccine, such as infantile spasms, have not been found to be caused by the vaccine, temporal associations notwithstanding. This distinction between temporal association and causation may not be grasped readily by lay jurors and others who are unaccustomed to dealing with the concept, and most explanations are based on complex epidemiology that is even more difficult to comprehend. Therefore, juries faced with a seriously damaged child and agonized family, who date the onset of disability from the approximate time of vaccination, are understandably sympathetic to the plaintiffs.”

“The large majority of the possible problems are minor and transient—a fever, a short-term allergic reaction, soreness at the site of the injection. There is the possibility of autoimmune reaction too, in which the body effectively attacks itself, though the science is still vague on what role, if any, vaccines can play in that. Other possible problems include simple injury to shoulder when the vaccine needle penetrates the bursa…In rare cases, severe neurological reactions have been observed too, but that very rarity makes it impossible to determine if they were caused by the vaccine or were a mere coincidence in timing.”https://time.com/3995062/vaccine-injury-court-truth/


The flu vaccine

There are several reasons not to get the flu vaccine, the main being it does not protect against all strains of the flu, or that the vaccine needs to be obtained every year. Now with fact comes propaganda, the false belief that the flu vaccine can make someone sick.

Everyone six months or older is recommended to get the flu vaccine, and side effects are common. But the effects go away quite quickly (1-2 days)



The main problem of being unvaccinated is not just a concern for the unvaccinated children but is for concern of people who cannot get vaccinated. The recent increase of parents forgoing vaccines resulted in a re-emergence of diseases in places once labeled eradicated. Ex: The measles, a potentially deadly disease labeled eradicated in 2002, made a comeback of over 600 cases in 2014. (The same with Pertussis and Whooping cough.) With experts saying the cause being anti-vaxxers denying their children protection.

If you have any doubts about vaccines, contact a trusted doctor, and get their opinion. Because in most cases the potential risk of a vaccine is negligible compared to developing a preventable disease. And most concerns regarding vaccinations are mere misconceptions.