Antivaxxers Ideology Based on a Hoax
You remember a little disease called the Black Death or bubonic plague? It was an infectious disease spread by rats that devastated Europe and Asia in the Middle Ages. According to some estimates, roughly half of Europe died over the span of four years. In parts of southern France close to 80% of people died gruesome deaths.
People attempted to cure themselves in a variety of questionable ways. Some tried placing a live chicken next to themselves, believing it would draw out the toxins. Also drinking their own urine…daily. Aromatherapy, blood letting, and bathing in vinegar and rose water were also considered great alternatives.
Now we have the modern miracle of the vaccine. The same bubonic plague that brought humanity to its knees is now a vaccinable disease. Millions if not billions of lives are saved every year by vaccines. Vaccines are a miracle of the modern world.
Unfortunately, people are having a very medieval reaction to vaccines, particularly in regards to autism.
In 1998, Andrew Wakefield published a study linking autism to vaccines. In particular, the MMR vaccine which inoculates people against the measles, mumps, and rubella. This paper is considered the genesis of the antivaxxer movement. The problem? It was completely faked! Andrew Wakefield was paid to discredit MMR in favour of a competing vaccine. This corporate sabotage has wreaked untold consequences upon the world at large. Wakefield has the morals of a wet paper bag and about as much integrity.
Meanwhile, autism has been undergoing its own epidemic. The numbers of people diagnosed with autism keep climbing, leaving many scared parents vulnerable to misinformed antivaxxer ideology and dubious autism cures like bleach enemas.
The supposed link between autism and vaccines is perhaps one of the most vigorously tested questions in human history. One Danish study tracked over a half million children after the introduction of the MMR vaccine with no link found. This blog links to 107 different studies proving autism and vaccines are not linked. Science has proved that vaccines don’t cause autism.
It’s easy to point fingers at antivaxxers. People make choices they think will benefit them and their families. We all do the best we can. This article, written by a former antivaxxer, moved me deeply. Antivaxxers aren’t stupid, they’re scared. The best way to fight something scary is to learn more about it.
As support workers, we fight fear every day. Little by little, step by step, we work alongside advocates and people supported to change people’s fear based reactions around disability. Some day antivaxxers will be a thing of the past because our communities will embrace people of other abilities. Instead of parents risking their children’s lives rather than risk autism, we’ll embrace the possibilities that autism brings.
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