They might not be a laughing matter, but images of a group of California teenagers threatening women about getting vaccines have a way of reminding people that what little sense exists in the anti-vaxx movement. The disturbing videos came to light late last month, after one girl was filmed berating a group of women for trying to vaccinate their children. The teens asked the women, “Why do you want to vaccinate your kids?” and “Are you on drugs?” according to CBS News.
The girls also come across in the video as emotionally disturbed. “C’mon now!” one of the girls says as she shrieks at the women. “What are you doing to my family? What’s going on? We are gonna kill all your kids.” The video ends with a group of girls chanting “CDC” — the CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the medical and scientific organization that researches and publishes information on vaccines. The video of the girls and their parents went viral on social media, sparking a nationwide debate about the safety of vaccines. California’s health department has moved to either prevent or prosecute the girl and her parents. The investigation into the video is ongoing.
These types of videos don’t surprise many experts who have studied the claims of the anti-vaxx movement. Speaking to The Washington Post in December, Dr. Emily Finn said it can be difficult to ignore those who “pretend they are dispassionate, which may be a different species altogether,” and she added that misinformation is often just an “elaboration of” something else that is actually untrue.
“Yes, ‘alternative medicine’ and ‘alternative medicine’ are synonymous; however, it’s also true that some of the autism theory has been adapted by the anti-vaccine lobby,” Finn said.
“Of course, the question everyone asks is, ‘Why would someone from an educated and healthy background doing whatever it is they do choose something like this?’ ” she continued. “And that is the $64,000 question. It’s logical, but it also hinges on some really scary questions: ‘If you think something is dangerous, why wouldn’t you subject yourself to it? What rational reason do you have for choosing something that is flawed?’ ”
The concerns about vaccines are shared across the political spectrum, but the anti-vaxx movement has found fertile ground for its propaganda in the U.S. The Gallup poll, a comprehensive study of how many Americans are concerned about various issues, found that 65 percent of the public is concerned about the health risks that vaccines can pose, but only 37 percent believe the health risks are caused by the vaccines themselves. A Gallup poll conducted in 2017 found that more than half of Americans, 53 percent, believe that “many parents don’t vaccinate their children because they are selfish, don’t care about their health, or just aren’t interested in getting their children healthy.” The anti-vaxx movement has inspired an entire industry of information mills, misinformation factories and businesses that provide goods and services for people who want to go through the painful withdrawal process after rejecting the inoculations.
Recently, in a warning letter sent to anti-vaxxers, the California Department of Public Health told “dangerous individuals” that it would take action against them and their families after a photo of a doctor visiting a Seattle man went viral. The doctor visited to try to convince the man that his own son’s autism is not contagious. The parents chose to continue with what is generally considered the last resort: unvaccinated their children.
These stories have shown that the reality behind the anti-vaxx movement is not as fantastical as it once was. Instead, the anti-vaxx movement that infects parents and children across the globe is driving the same pain that the anti-vaxxers read about in books, movies and television, unaware that their treatment to raise unvaccinated children likely leads to preventable deaths and harms far beyond the borders of the U.S.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
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