Podcast: How dangerous is the ANTIVACCINE movement on social media?
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The ANTIVACCINE movement on social media is enormous
“Don’t worry about those nutcases”, a doctor friend of mine told me. “These are just some idiot hippies that like alternative medicine and meditation. There are enough sensible people out there who vaccinate for this not to become dangerous to the general public”.
This is just one of many conversations I have had with medics, scientists, or public health workers who have dismissed the antivaccine communities as radicalized fringe groups with no real impact, or as “stupid and dumb”. What always struck me though, was that these same people were rarely active on social media and frankly had no idea what they were talking about. They were just as locked into their science fringe groups as the antivaccine movement they criticized.
To be honest, the anti-science groups are no longer fringe groups and these people are not stupid. These are normal people like you and me who have gotten their information flow warped and twisted inside echo chambers. Welcome to social media.
Infectious theories – “Common sense will prevail”
The belief that “common sense” will prevail is about as dumb as any flat Earth theory. Just take a look around, read a few history books… you will quickly find many examples of where societies have not developed in the direction of common sense.
Infectious theories with easy and emotional messages will, and have always, traveled fast through human populations. Then, bring forward the joker called Social Media and you have a runaway train that will be hell of a challenge to slow down.
Can we please start having a frank discussion around this and start communicating science in a way that engages people that are not already scientists? If we don’t we will continue to see the emergence of many old and nasty friends like polio and measles.
The ANTIVACCINE movement on social media
In this podcast episode, Joa and Doctor Anna talk with Jay Summers who have been undercover in many of the antivaccine secret groups over several years. He shares with us insights into the workings of these groups and where information has failed.
Doctor Anna & Joa Helgesson