Anti-vaccine movement, spurred by internet-based rumors and misinformation

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at an anti-vaccine rally in Albany in May 2019. Image: Desiree Rios/The New York Times

As millions of families face back-to-school medical requirements and forms this month, the contentiousness surrounding vaccines is heating up again, with possibly even more fervor.

Though the situation may seem improbable to some, anti-vaccine sentiment has been building for decades, a byproduct of an internet humming with rumor and misinformation; the backlash against Big Pharma; an infatuation with celebrities that gives special credence to the anti-immunization statements from actors like Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Alicia Silverstone, the rapper Kevin Gates and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And now, the Trump administration’s anti-science rhetoric.

“Science has become just another voice in the room,” said Dr. Paul A. Offit, an infectious disease expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Related article:  CDC: US could prevent top-thirds of maternal deaths

Public health experts say that patients and many doctors may not appreciate the severity of diseases that immunizations have thwarted, like polio, which can affect the spinal cord and brain — because they probably have not seen cases.

“Vaccines are a victim of their own success,” said Dr. Offit, a co-inventor of a vaccine for rotavirus, which can cause severe diarrhea in young children. “We have largely eliminated the memory of many diseases.”

Read full, original post: How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States

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