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:  Which provides longer-lasting immunity: Getting COVID or a vaccine?

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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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