Pro-Vaccination Propaganda Is Backfiring, Study Shows
Vaccines contain much more than just viruses. They also contain a range of ingredients that may include antibiotics, formaldehyde, monosodium glutamate (MSG), bovine fetal tissue, polysorbate and heavy metals like aluminum and the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal. Taking a chance on injecting that cocktail straight into a growing baby’s bloodstream, thus bypassing the majority of the child’s natural immune system and allowing it to go directly into the kid’s tiny developing brain, all to attempt to protect from a disease he or she may never even contract does seem ill-advised at best, and it’s a chance more and more parents are less likely to take these days.
A new study in the journal Pediatrics found that “public health campaigns touting vaccines’ effectiveness and debunking the links between autism and other health risks might actually be backfiring, and convincing parents to skip the shots for their kids,” according to CBS News:
“Corrections of misperceptions about controversial issues like vaccines may be counterproductive in some populations,” wrote the researchers behind one of the studies, led by Dr. Brendan Nyhan, a health care researcher at Dartmouth College in Hanover N.H. “The best response to false beliefs is not necessarily providing correct information.”
The study is, in-part, an outgrowth of the anti-vaccine fervor that has grown over the last 20 years. Much of it has centered around controversy surrounding the work of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
Former surgeon and current medical researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield was vilified for his research into the link between the MMR vaccine, gastrointestinal disorders and autism published in The Lancet in 1998. The establishment attacked Wakefield relentlessly, he was labeled a fraud by the British Medical Journal and The Lancet retracted his paper. It was only years later that information surfaced revealing that A) Wakefield wasn’t the only doctor who presented similar findings, B) the U.S. government courts conceded that vaccines caused autism, awarding parents thousands of dollars in damages and C) new research has confirmed the links between MMR and autism as well:
And today, scientists and physicians from Wake Forest University, New York, and Venezuela, reported findings that not only confirm the presence of intestinal disease in children with autism and intestinal symptoms, but also indicate that this disease may be novel. Using sophisticated laboratory methods Dr. Steve Walker and his colleagues endorsed Wakefield’s original findings by showing molecular changes in the children’s intestinal tissues that were highly distinctive and clearly abnormal.
From 1998 Dr. Wakefield discovered and reported intestinal disease in children with autism. Based upon the medical histories of the children he linked their disease and their autistic regression to the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR vaccine). He has since been subjected to relentless personal and professional attacks in the media, and from governments, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. In the wake of demonstrably false and highly damaging allegations of scientific fraud by British journalist Brian Deer and the British Medical Journal, Dr. Wakefield is pursuing defamation proceedings against them in Texas.
In fact, multiple peer reviewed papers have supported Dr. Wakefield’s findings.
In the years since, autism rates have only continued to rise in America. Still, the pro-vaccination crowd insists that vaccinations are quote “safe and effective” cost-saving measures and Wakefield’s work is without merit.
The United States currently has the most aggressive vaccination schedule in the whole world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends we shoot up our infants up with 26 shots by age one, and then ten more shots before age five.
With all these vaccines, you’d think America would be last in infant mortality, setting the bar with the lowest infant mortality rate on the planet. However, we’re not even number ten. Or twenty. In fact, according to the CIA World Factbook, the U.S. is currently 50th out of 224 countries for infant mortality rate.
Ample evidence suggests vaccines can and do cause injury — the existence of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which has paid out nearly $3 billion in damages to victims since the first claims were filed in 1989, is proof enough of that. If an injury has occurred after 1988, The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act requires victims to first apply for compensation through the program before they are even allowed to sue the pharmaceutical company that may have actually caused the injury.
Despite the repeated attempts to sabotage Dr. Wakefield’s career, the public at large did not ignore his findings, and the warnings of the potential dangers of not just autism but vaccine damage in general have not fallen entirely on deaf ears. More and more parents are reconsidering vaccinating their kids.
Now researchers are finding that pro-vaccination propaganda is failing to take:
The first campaign attempted to correct misinformation by explaining the lack of evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism. The second presented information on the risk of measles in text form. The third showed powerful images of children who developed diseases that could be prevented by the MMR vaccine, and the fourth focused on a dramatic story of one infant who almost died of measles.
None of the designed public health messages increased parental intent to get their child vaccinated.
Debunking the claims between the measles vaccine and autism appeared to successfully reduce misperceptions about the shot causing the developmental disorder. But, compared to the group given the bird-feeding fact sheet, they were less likely to commit to vaccinating their future kids, which was especially the case for parents who already had unfavorable attitudes towards vaccines.
The images of children who had the diseases and the story of a child who almost died from measles actually backfired, increasing the misconception that vaccines cause autism and serious side effects, respectively.
The researchers suspected the CDC debunking the autism claims backfired and got parents to think of other concerns to justify anti-vaccine beliefs. The images and dramatic narrative of sick kids might have backfired by priming parents to think of more dangers and associate them with vaccines.
Ultimately, not only did the propaganda fail to convince parents to vaccinate, but it actually made parents less likely to do so in the future.
The researchers concluded, “These results suggest the need to carefully test vaccination messaging before making it public.”
Meanwhile, evidence continues to emerge that vaccine “science” is based more on corporate greed than health.