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9780262539326

Anti-vaxxers

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780262539326

  • ISBN10:

    0262539322

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-09-08
  • Publisher: Mit Pr

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Summary

A history of the anti-vaccination movement, from its nineteenth-century antecedents to today's anti-vax activism, offering strategies for refuting its claims.

Vaccines are a documented success story, one of the most successful public health interventions in history. Yet there is a vocal anti-vaccination movement, featuring celebrity activists (including Kennedy scion Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and actress Jenny McCarthy) and the propagation of anti-vax claims through books, documentaries, and social media. In Anti-Vaxxers, Jonathan Berman explores the phenomenon of the anti-vaccination movement, recounting its history from its nineteenth-century antecedents to today's activism, examining its claims, and suggesting a strategy for countering them.

After providing background information on vaccines and how they work, Berman describes resistance to Britain's Vaccination Act of 1853, showing that the arguments anticipate those made by today's anti-vaxxers. He discusses the development of new vaccines in the twentieth century, including those protecting against polio and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and the debunked paper that linked the MMR vaccine to autism; the CDC conspiracy theory promoted in the documentary Vaxxed; recommendations for an alternative vaccination schedule; Kennedy's misinformed campaign against thimerosal; and the much-abused religious exemption to vaccination.

Anti-vaxxers have changed their minds, but rarely because someone has given them a list of facts. Berman argues that anti-vaccination activism is tied closely to how people see themselves as parents and community members. Effective pro-vaccination efforts should emphasize these cultural aspects rather than battling social media posts.

Author Biography

Jonathan M. Berman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Basic Sciences at NYITCOM–Arkansas. An active science communicator, he served as national cochair of the 2017 March for Science.

Table of Contents

Preface vii Introduction xiii
1 Is There Even a Problem? 1
2 Understanding Vaccines 9
3 The World before Vaccines 13
4 The First Vaccine 19
5 The First Anti-vaccine Movements 29
6 Vaccine Pioneers 45
7 The Twentieth-century Anti-vaccine Movement 49
8 Autism 63
9 The Anti-vaccine Movement, 1998–Present 69 10 Vaxxed 87
11 Too Many, Too Soon 97
12 Deadly Immunity 107
13 Ineffective “Alternatives” to Vaccination 115
14 Social Media, “Fake News,” and the Spread of
Information 135
15 Escalation of Commitment 151
16 Religion and Vaccine Hesitancy 155
17 Big Pharma 165
18 Anti-vaccine Activism in 2018 and 2019 179
19 Vaccine Advocates 187
20 Who Are They? 197
21 The Anti-vaccine Parent 201
22 What Changes Minds about Vaccines? 205
Conclusions 211
Acknowledgments 215
Notes 217
Index 273

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