Meeting the “Antivaxxers”

Meeting the “Antivaxxers”

Learn about one of the most violent terrorist groups on Earth, on a mission to kill medical volunteers saving Northern Nigerians from Polio.

Boko Haram

The terrorist organization which roughly translates to "The western way is sinful." targets non-muslims and those practicing ideas carried from American and European cultures.

Among the group's targets are volunteers assisting in the eradication of Polio in Northern Nigeria by merciless slaughter.

Anti-vaccine advocates are among the most deadly human beings on the face of the earth.

Antivaxxers will collect articles graphs and study data, often taken out of context or simply generated by antivaxxers themselves and convince parents to forgo vaccinating their children. Here is one such tweet doing exactly that.

The results are heartbreaking.

Devastating examples of domestic terrorism, often targeting grieving parents or persuading parents of sick children to forgo proven treatment over pseudoscientific cures.

This NBC News article tells a common story where antivaxx groups use a Post Hoc manipulative trick to make a true story sound like a vaccine danger revelation:

Evee's story, as her mother Catelin Clobes tells it, is of a healthy 6-month-old who died 36 hours after a checkup where she got several vaccinations. Clobes and an army of online activists now say the vaccines caused Evee's death. That belief, and Clobes' willingness to make Evee part of a national media campaign, have turned the grieving mom into a rising star in the anti-vaccination world. Her Facebook posts draw hundreds of thousands of views, and multiple fundraisers set up by anti-vaccination activists on her behalf have raised tens of thousands of dollars. She has become a champion of other anti-vaccination parents around the country.
But there's a problem with the story at the heart of this crusade, and with Clobes' new role as an anti-vaccine heroine. Her local medical examiner has ruled that the evidence — collected in an autopsy and by first responders — shows Evee accidentally suffocated while co-sleeping with her mother.

The everyday people who get swept up in antivaxx culture

Unfortunately with the help of falsified information and data taken widely out of context, an antivaxx movement is steadily growing, ganging up on individuals on social media to squash anyone with a pro vaccine message and persuade parents to choose not to vaccinate their children.

How is this happening?

The very same effect is drawing people into bizarre movements such as the Flat Earth Society. Using the same manipulative techniques, the society claims our planet is flat and that evidence to the contrary is all part of a government conspiracy.

I am personally constantly catching antivaxxers misconstrue information to meet their needs.

For example,

Read more about the tricks used to manipulate parents.

What is the result?

This graph demonstrates the sharp and steady decline of measles as a result of a vaccination movement starting in 1960. (CC BY from Our World in Data)

As data such as the chart above demonstrate, vaccines are profoundly effective in preventing diseases. There is no doubt a vast improvement from the left to the right side of the graph. But notice the numbers are not consistently zero after 1960. Those little bumps are what antivaxxers focus on.

"The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is an informal fallacy which is committed when differences in data are ignored, but similarities are overemphasized. From this reasoning, a false conclusion is inferred....The name comes from a joke about a Texan who fires some gunshots at the side of a barn, then paints a target centered on the tightest cluster of hits and claims to be a sharpshooter." —Wikipedia

Using the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, the argument can be made that individuals received the measles vaccine and they got measles anyway!

Make no mistake, public health is under attack.

Anti-vaxxers celebrate victory in NJ as pro-vaccine bill falls apart
The bill’s sponsors vow to immediately try again.
Anti-vaxxers open door for measles, mumps, other old-time diseases back from near extinction
Outbreaks across the U.S. have forced officials to declare emergencies. Why are we starting to see the rise of these outbreaks? It dates back to the anti-vax movement. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

Not only are these groups encouraging others to not take vaccines, they're going as far as to replace vaccines with harmful medicine, like drinking bleach.

QAnon conspiracy theorists are telling people to drink bleach as a cure against the deadly Wuhan coronavirus
Consuming the toxic bleach, also known as “Miracle Mineral Solution,” causes severe nausea, vomiting, and can even be fatal.
Adam Grant

Adam Grant