Lingering doubts about the COVID vaccine might fuel a dangerous rise in a broader anti-vax movement. Doctors are fearing that vaccine hesitancy on COVID is leading to skepticism about other vaccines.
Anti-Vax Movement Can Grow Beyond COVID Vaccines
Professor Liam Smeeth, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said a worrisome trend is happening. People who distrust the COVID vaccine are having doubts about vaccines. This, in turn, is fueling a bigger anti-vax movement.
Smeeth thinks that people go “maybe the measles vaccine isn’t great either, and maybe these other vaccines aren’t great”. He added that measles outbreaks can happen even with a minimal drop in measles vaccine uptake.
In fact, the UK reported measles outbreaks when vaccination rates dropped in the 90s and 2000s. Smeeth noted that a drop of a little beyond 90% in measles vaccination rates today can cause a serious outbreak.
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1990s Featured ‘Vaccines Cause Autism’ Calls
During the late 1990s, the anti-vax movement rallied around a study saying that vaccines cause autism. This resulted in tens of thousands of parents rejecting measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines.
This is according to the British medical journal The Lancet. However, the journal eventually rejected the 12-year old claims of vaccines causing autism.
Subsequent studies showed that vaccines did not cause Autism Spectrum Disorder. Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that can cause pneumonia and brain inflammation. Before the introduction of the widespread use of vaccines, outbreaks happened every two or three years.
According to the World Health Organization, measles directly led to 2.6 million deaths annually. Meanwhile, World Bank data showed that 90% of American children received their measles shots by the age of two.
This is a two-point improvement compared to 2018, the previous year. However, between 1988 and 1992, those figures fell from 98% to 83% at the height of the anti-vax movement. As a result, measles vaccination rates went below 90% for the entire four years.
Gretchen LaSalle, clinical assistant professor at the Elson Floyd College of Medicine said that COVID vaccines can spark new anti-vax movements.
The politicization of the vaccines, plus a general lack of understanding, can cause devastating effects. In a survey she conducted in 2020, 20% of Americans said they became less confident in vaccines during the pandemic.
LaSalle said she hoped that the everyday news about COVID’s effects can push Americans to accept the importance of vaccines. Unfortunately, diseases like measles, which need a high vaccination of 95% and above, won’t stand a chance.
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Do you distrust COVID Vaccines but trust other vaccines like MMR? Or, are you beginning to realize that vaccines don’t work and can only complicate matters??
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