Are all anti-vaxxers kooks? Here is one couple’s journey to vaccine rejection and what might change their minds

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Credit: Luke Best/Mosaic

Anti-vaccine parents are deeply concerned with being good parents. They are college educated and usually members of the middle class. They have read multiple parenting books and perhaps belong to parenting groups in their neighborhood or online… Let’s give them names: Jim and Jenny, who live in Measlton, Michigan.

Jim researches articles on websites like Natural News and InfoWars. Jenny finds books on Amazon. Some of what they read is alarming. Claims of medical fraud and toxins that poison the blood being injected into children. Comparisons to Nazi doctors experimenting on children. Jim’s cousin weighs in when she’s visiting one day: “I didn’t vaccinate my kids. Look how healthy they are.” Rather than appealing to science, these sources appealed to moral concerns.

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Imagine how this scenario would have played out if someone on the Measlton Moms Facebook group had stepped forward after that initial post to say “I had all three vaccinated, and they’re doing great.” Or if there had been another post with a picture of a smiling child with the caption “She just got her 24-month booster shots!” Perhaps if the sources that presented themselves when Jim and Jenny set out to do research had been better, they might have stopped themselves.

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