Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement

Published on May 1, 2012in Vaccine3.27
· DOI :10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.11.112
Anna Kata5
Estimated H-index: 5
(McMaster University)
Abstract Websites opposing vaccination are prevalent on the Internet. Web 2.0, defined by interaction and user-generated content, has become ubiquitous. Furthermore, a new postmodern paradigm of healthcare has emerged, where power has shifted from doctors to patients, the legitimacy of science is questioned, and expertise is redefined. Together this has created an environment where anti-vaccine activists are able to effectively spread their messages. Evidence shows that individuals turn to the Internet for vaccination advice, and suggests such sources can impact vaccination decisions – therefore it is likely that anti-vaccine websites can influence whether people vaccinate themselves or their children. This overview examines the types of rhetoric individuals may encounter online in order to better understand why the anti-vaccination movement can be convincing, despite lacking scientific support for their claims. Tactics and tropes commonly used to argue against vaccination are described. This includes actions such as skewing science, shifting hypotheses, censoring dissent, and attacking critics; also discussed are frequently made claims such as not being “anti-vaccine” but “pro-safe vaccines”, that vaccines are toxic or unnatural, and more. Recognizing disingenuous claims made by the anti-vaccination movement is essential in order to critically evaluate the information and misinformation encountered online.
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Published on Sep 13, 2011
Dan Olmsted1
Estimated H-index: 1
Published on Sep 1, 2011in Medical Decision Making2.79
Cornelia Betsch16
Estimated H-index: 16
Corina Ulshöfer2
Estimated H-index: 2
+ 1 AuthorsTilmann Betsch24
Estimated H-index: 24
Background. Health-related information found on the Internet is increasing and impacts patient decision making, e.g. regarding vaccination decisions. In addition to statistical information (e.g. incidence rates of vaccine adverse events), narrative information is also widely available such as postings on online bulletin boards. Previous research has shown that narrative information can impact treatment decisions, even when statistical information is presented concurrently. Objectives. As the det...
Published on Feb 24, 2011in Vaccine3.27
Sandra J. Bean2
Estimated H-index: 2
(OSU: Oregon State University)
Abstract Context Anti-vaccination websites appeal to persons searching the Internet for vaccine information that reinforces their predilection to avoid vaccination for themselves or their children. Few published studies have systematically examined these sites. Objectives The aim of this study was to employ content analysis as a useful tool for examining and comparing anti-vaccination websites for recurring and changing emphases in content, design, and credibility themes since earlier anti-vacci...
Published on Feb 21, 2011in BMJ27.60
Clare Dyer14
Estimated H-index: 14
A new book from the United States about antivaccine campaigns will have its UK publication held up after a libel threat from Richard Barr, the solicitor who acted for children in the UK litigation over the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Basic Books, the book’s publisher, has agreed to remove a sentence suggesting that Mr Barr personally paid money to Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who hypothesised that the vaccine might cause autism, to carry out a study for the purpose of the MMR liti...
Published on Jan 18, 2011in BMJ27.60
Brian Deer7
Estimated H-index: 7
In the third part of a special BMJ series, Brian Deer reveals what happened when he reported misconduct in Andrew Wakefield’s MMR research to the medical journal that published it Preparing to give evidence in London to a UK General Medical Council fitness to practise panel, Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet , nodded in turn to three accused doctors, seated among their lawyers to his left. First, Simon Murch, almost close enough to touch. Next, John Walker-Smith, more distant. Finally, Andrew...
Published on Jan 14, 2011in BMJ27.60
Brian Deer7
Estimated H-index: 7
In the second part of a special BMJ series, Brian Deer reveals a secret scheme to raise huge sums from a campaign, launched at a London medical school, that claimed links between MMR, autism, and bowel disease
Published on Jan 13, 2011in The New England Journal of Medicine70.67
Gregory A. Poland57
Estimated H-index: 57
Robert M. Jacobson49
Estimated H-index: 49
Today, the most recent in a long line of antivaccinationists are using modern media to sway public opinion and distract attention from scientific evidence. But there are steps we can take to avert the ill effects of these campaigns.
Published on Jan 5, 2011in BMJ27.60
Brian Deer7
Estimated H-index: 7
In the first part of a special BMJ series, Brian Deer exposes the bogus data behind claims that launched a worldwide scare over the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, and reveals how the appearance of a link with autism was manufactured at a London medical school
Cited By269
Published on Nov 1, 2019in Social Science & Medicine3.09
Yuxi Wang (Bocconi University), Martin McKee103
Estimated H-index: 103
(Lond: University of London)
+ 1 AuthorsDavid Stuckler51
Estimated H-index: 51
(Bocconi University)
Abstract Contemporary commentators describe the current period as “an era of fake news” in which misinformation, generated intentionally or unintentionally, spreads rapidly. Although affecting all areas of life, it poses particular problems in the health arena, where it can delay or prevent effective care, in some cases threatening the lives of individuals. While examples of the rapid spread of misinformation date back to the earliest days of scientific medicine, the internet, by allowing instan...
Resume Nous sommes a l’aire « postconfiance » avec une defiance vis-a-vis de la vaccination, relayee par les reseaux sociaux. La survenue de foyers epidemiques (rougeole, coqueluche), des taux de vaccination qui diminuent chez l’enfant ou qui restent tres bas chez l’adulte justifient de lever les freins. Pour l’instant, les obligations vaccinales ont ete renforcees en attendant de redonner confiance. La litterature medicale sur ce sujet est encore limitee. Elle aborde surtout les motivations, le...
Published on Oct 1, 2019in Learning and Instruction3.92
Marianne Chevrier4
Estimated H-index: 4
(McGill University),
Krista R. Muis19
Estimated H-index: 19
(McGill University)
+ 2 AuthorsGale M. Sinatra36
Estimated H-index: 36
(SC: University of Southern California)
Abstract Across two studies, we evaluated a model that proposed relations between epistemic cognition, epistemic emotions, self-regulatory strategies, and learning of complex contradictory content. For Study 1, to capture epistemic cognition, epistemic emotions, and self-regulatory strategies, 114 undergraduate students thought out loud while reading conflicting texts about climate change. Protocol analysis revealed that epistemic aims, epistemic congruity, and appraisals of novelty and complexi...
Published on Jun 19, 2019in Health Education & Behavior2.19
Zhan Xu (NAU: Northern Arizona University), Lauren Ellis (NAU: Northern Arizona University), Laura R. Umphrey6
Estimated H-index: 6
(NAU: Northern Arizona University)
Published on Jun 5, 2018in Health Communication1.85
Juwon Hwang (UW: University of Wisconsin-Madison), Dhavan V. Shah48
Estimated H-index: 48
(UW: University of Wisconsin-Madison)
ABSTRACTParental concerns over the safety or necessity of childhood vaccination have increased over the past decades. At the same time, there has been a proliferation of vaccine-related information available through a range of health information sources. This study investigates the associations between evaluations of health information sources, parental perceptions of childhood vaccination benefits, and the maintenance of vaccination schedules for their children. Specifically, this study aims to...
Published on Sep 7, 2019in Journal of Cancer Education1.69
Alexis M. Koskan1
Estimated H-index: 1
(ASU: Arizona State University),
Lauren N. Dominick1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UA: University of Arizona),
Deborah L. Helitzer (ASU: Arizona State University)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake varies by geographic regions with rural, often medically underserved areas, lagging behind more urban regions in terms of vaccine initiation and completion. In these regions, pharmacies may serve as an additional location for HPV vaccine administration. Little is known about rural caregivers’ willingness to have their HPV vaccine age-eligible children obtain this vaccine from their local pharmacist. First and second authors conducted 26 in-depth inte...
Published on Sep 6, 2019in Health Education & Behavior2.19
Amanda M. Harvey (UCCS: University of Colorado Colorado Springs), Sharlynn Thompson (UCCS: University of Colorado Colorado Springs)+ 1 AuthorsFrederick L. Coolidge32
Estimated H-index: 32
(UCCS: University of Colorado Colorado Springs)
The purpose of the study was to examine the characteristics of Internet memes created and disseminated by proponents and opponents of vaccinations. A quantitative content analysis was performed on ...
Published on Sep 1, 2019in Vaccine3.27
Tomas Rozbroj3
Estimated H-index: 3
(La Trobe University),
Anthony Lyons18
Estimated H-index: 18
(La Trobe University),
Jayne Lucke23
Estimated H-index: 23
(UQ: University of Queensland)
Abstract Background Vaccine refusal is shaped by the social ecology in which it occurs. How people who refuse vaccines are communicated to and treated may affect the nature and strength of their negative vaccine beliefs, and their responsiveness to health promotion messages. Yet little is known about how people who refuse vaccines are perceived by the public. Our research examined perceptions among pro-vaccine Australians of the vaccine-refusal movement. Methods Descriptions of the vaccine-refus...
Published on Nov 17, 2017in Health Informatics Journal2.30
Michael Deiner7
Estimated H-index: 7
Cherie Fathy1
Estimated H-index: 1
+ 6 AuthorsTravis C. Porco39
Estimated H-index: 39
Social media posts regarding measles vaccination were classified as pro-vaccination, expressing vaccine hesitancy, uncertain, or irrelevant. Spearman correlations with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–reported measles cases and differenced smoothed cumulative case counts over this period were reported (using time series bootstrap confidence intervals). A total of 58,078 Facebook posts and 82,993 tweets were identified from 4 January 2009 to 27 August 2016. Pro-vaccination posts were co...
Published on Jul 1, 2019in Journal of Radiology Nursing
Lee Anne Siegmund2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Cleveland Clinic)
Abstract Social media enables instant dialog and is growing among almost every demographic. Nurses can reach patients and benefit professionally by taking advantage of this internet phenomenon. Social media can be utilized for networking, information sharing, and support. Patients may benefit from support and information provided on various platforms. Online health communities are also effective for connecting patients to nurses and other patients with similar health conditions. There are limita...