It’s Time to Vaccinate Against Misinformation with the Truth (The Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth)

BY JASON CHUNG (4)

Truth or Consequences is more than just a place via Wikimedia Commons

This weekend, The Deductible ran two pieces regarding a practicing physician’s view of the vaccination issue and a patient advocate’s contrarian view of the subject.  Both perspectives provided valuable windows into the complex views that some hold on the matter – complexity which may surprise public health advocates who view vaccination as a settled debate.

Unfortunately, the issue of childhood vaccinations is far from settled in some domains.  And contrary to expectations, those leading the charge of vaccine skepticism don’t seem to lack affluence or education.  In fact, researchers have found that the people most likely to refuse vaccinations for their children to be “white, well-educated and affluent”.

This is an abject failure in public health.  Somewhere, over the course of the past few decades, public health practitioners and advocates have lost the ability to convey scientific facts on childhood vaccines in a compelling and persuasive manner.

4 thoughts on “It’s Time to Vaccinate Against Misinformation with the Truth (The Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth)

  1. Jason, I’m curious about this comment in your post: ”While I categorically disagree with Mr. Jaques conclusions and interpretations regarding vaccinations” …

    My conclusion was that honest conversations, science, and bringing sides together could end the vaccine debate.

    1. Ken, I disagree with your interpretation that you need to prove that “all possible options have been evaluated and there is no way to interpret the scientific results differently” because you’re creating doubt about the vast scientific consensus that exists.

  2. For example on the topic: vaccines & autism. Here you can find a summary of all the papers that claim to provide evidence that autism is caused by vaccines. Those who support vaccines also have lists of papers which they present as evidence that vaccines do not cause autism. https://thelogicofscience.com/2019/03/12/vaccines-and-autism-a-thorough-review-of-the-evidence-2019-update/ On the anti-vaccine side, there are 160 papers total. 33 of them weren’t actually about autism, 82 weren’t about vaccines, 41 were animal trials or in vitro studies (which are weak designs that have limited applicability to humans, especially for something like autism), 60 were on either a form of mercury that has never been in vaccines or thimerosal (which hasn’t been in childhood vaccines for almost two decades), 9 were case reports/conference abstracts/opinion papers/some other non-research paper, and 37 were non-systematic reviews (only 8 of which were relevant to the topic at hand; some papers were in multiple categories). Only 14 of the papers were actually studies on humans that are relevant to autism and the current vaccine schedule, but none of those studies are large, all of them were association studies (i.e., they could not show causation, because correlation does not equal causation) and most of them were seriously flawed. That is why the science on this is CLEAR. Vaccines do not cause autism. But the #misinformation never goes away. We are living in a fact-resistant world.

    1. Thank you, Dr. Adler. Specificity like this is necessary when addressing vaccine skepticism and hesitancy.

Leave a Reply