Posted by: Edzard Ernst25 August 2012
Vaccinations are generally considered to be amongst the biggest achievement in the history of medicine. They must have prevented billions of diseases and saved millions of lives. Yet, for many years, there has been a vocal movement protesting against immunizations. A recent article1by A Kata summarises the notions and tactics of these activists. The author identified the following 'common anti-vaccination tropes' from searching relevant sites on the internet.
1) I am not anti-vaccine, I am pro-safe vaccine.
2) Vaccines are toxic.
3) Vaccines should be 100% safe.
4) You cannot prove that vaccines are safe.
5) Vaccines did not save us.
6) Vaccines are not natural.
7) I am an expert in my own child.
8) Galileo was persecuted too.
9) Science has been wrong before.
10) So many people simply cannot be wrong.
11) You must be in the pocket of BIG PHARMA.
12) I do no believe that the problems after vaccination occur coincidentally.
And what has this to do with alternative medicine? I think, the connection is twofold. Firstly, many of the arguments resonate with those of alternative medicine enthusiasts aimed at their critics. Secondly, there is a mountain of evidence to show that many practitioners of alternative medicine are part of the anti-vaccine movement2.
1. Kata A. Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm - an overview of tactics and troops used online by the anti-vaccination movement. Vaccine 2011;Dec 13. [Epub ahead of print].
2. Schmidt K, Ernst E. Welcome to the lion's den - CAM therapists and immunisations. Focus Altern Complement Ther 2005; 10:98-100.