Anti-vaxx Movement

Updated 30-Jan-2022

This is meant as a set of resources regarding the Anti-vaxx movement, in general and specifically in the light of Covid-19.

Studies and Findings regarding the Anti-vaxx movement

Widespread acceptance of a vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) will be the next major step in fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but achieving high uptake will be a challenge and may be impeded by online misinformation. To inform successful vaccination campaigns, we conducted a randomized controlled trial in the UK and the USA to quantify how exposure to online misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines affects intent to vaccinate to protect oneself or others. Here we show that in both countries—as of September 2020—fewer people would ‘definitely’ take a vaccine than is likely required for herd immunity, and that, relative to factual information, recent misinformation induced a decline in intent of 6.2 percentage points (95th percentile interval 3.9 to 8.5) in the UK and 6.4 percentage points (95th percentile interval 4.0 to 8.8) in the USA among those who stated that they would definitely accept a vaccine. We also find that some sociodemographic groups are differentially impacted by exposure to misinformation. Finally, we show that scientific-sounding misinformation is more strongly associated with declines in vaccination intent. Measuring the impact of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on vaccination intent in the UK and USA Nature

Here we identify that anti-vaccination supporters, in comparison with pro-vaccination supporters, share conspiracy theories and make use of emotional language. We demonstrate that anti-vaccination supporters are more engaged in discussions on Twitter and share their contents from a pull of strong influencers. We show that the movement’s success relies on a strong sense of community, based on the contents produced by a small fraction of profiles, with the community at large serving as a sounding board for anti-vaccination discourse to circulate online. Our data demonstrate that Donald Trump, before his profile was suspended, was the main driver of vaccine misinformation on Twitter. The anti-vaccination infodemic on social media: A behavioral analysis PLoS ONE

The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures such as lockdowns have increased the prevalence of mental health issues through the disruption of mental health services (Tandon, 2021; Xiong et al., 2020). The anti-vaccine movement may further prolong the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and may increase mortality or morbidity, resulting in an exacerbation of health inequalities and flaring the economic and social disparities. This may lead to not only an increase in the burden of COVID-19 infection but also mental health issues in poorer and marginalized people across the different LMICs.

Using Hagood and Mintzer Herlihy's model, people involved in the anti-vaccine movement can be categorized into three types’ viz. vaccine rejecters, vaccine-resistant, and vaccine hesitancy (Hagood and Mintzer Herlihy, 2013; Smith, 2017). This categorization helps to understand their motives, reasons, and concerns. A small proportion of people are vaccine rejecters who refuse to consider COVID-19 vaccine information, are prone to conspiracy theory thinking (e.g., denying the epidemic or linking it with politics), and favor complementary or alternative medical practices. They are not likely to vaccinate themselves or their children. Their opinions are difficult to change, but sometimes, they may accept some vaccines. Vaccine-resistant people on the other hand may reject vaccination but are simultaneously searching and willing to consider information about COVID-19 vaccines. They have anxiety about vaccinations and are ambivalent towards conspiracy theories. Interventions addressing their concerns may increase their COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. On the other hand, vaccine-hesitant people are not strongly committed to either a pro or anti-vaccine stance. This group emerges after initiating the COVID-19 vaccination program. They may avoid COVID-19 vaccinations due to some minor beliefs or concerns such as fever after vaccinations. Simple interventions such as educating about the vaccine at a local level can improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among them. COVID-19 anti-vaccine movement and mental health: Challenges and the way forward Asian Journal of Psychiatry

Resistance and legal challenges to compulsory vaccination laws have existed since the early 19th century. In Jacobson versus Massachusetts,8 the court found legislative vaccine mandates to be constitutional as a means of protecting public health and public safety. In Zucht versus King in 1922, the Supreme Court upheld a local ordinance requiring vaccination as a condition for school attendance.17 In the 1944 case Prince versus Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the court ruled that the constitutional rights of religion or parenthood were not beyond limitation and that states had the authority to protect the welfare of children and the community. Although the specific case was with regard to child labor laws, the court extended its language to encompass both religious and personal activities such that, “The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.”18 Since these rulings, there have been numerous challenges to state and local immunization requirements (eg, Workman versus Mingo County Schools, Phillips versus City of New York). All of these challenges failed. Medical Versus Nonmedical Immunization Exemptions for Child Care and School Attendance Pediatrics

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