The hardcore anti-vaxxer and you

Below is a scenario I recently encountered which was very familiar to me. Boringly so. I’ve tried to put some words around it in case recognising the flow and patterns of these hardcore anti-vaxxer engagements may help you out.

I don’t engage those I call “hardcore anti-vaxxers” because I think I’ll change their minds. There is no way I will change minds here – let’s be clear up front. Neither will you.

The members of this cult-of-belief seek only to sow uncertainty, to recruit more to their ranks, to lash out because of hurt, or to disrupt for the sake of it. They seemingly don’t care about the common good, or you, or being a citizen in a shared community. They only see darkness and harm among those making, prescribing, administering, advocating, encouraging or just discussing vaccines.

Occasionally some in the ranks of the anti-vaxxers have had a personal tragedy that has shaped their worldview. They blame that sad event – rightly or wrongly – on vaccination. 

I don’t for one second try and change the mind of anyone in this group. But I think it helpful to be able to identify the signs of the anti-vaxxer early in an online conversation [I will happily chat – on or off social media – to anyone with doubts about vaccination who is seeking knowledge].

I engage anti-vaxxers for the off-target effects; to remind those among my Tweeps who lurk-to-learn rather than to engage. I want others to see that anti-vaxxer cultists – like others who prey on the fears of others for some sort of personal gain – are rarely able to back up the rubbish they preach with logic or reason or facts. They work in gangs or through loud volume, but never through quality content.

Of course, I’m not advocating you jump into this cesspool. It’s not exactly a fun time to be had by all. By all means, keep lurking and learning.

It never hurts to stretch this set of muscles. Resisting things like lies, and “fake news” is needed by more and more by all of us every day.

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4 thoughts on “The hardcore anti-vaxxer and you”

  1. And, most importantly, they NEVER EVER link decent peer-reviewed research. When asked for it, they strangely tend to change topic.

  2. The thing I hear a lot from people who are against vaccinating their children is that doctors and nurses get very little education about how vaccines work, so how could they know? And this is a problem. Doctors and nurses who have comparatively little background will struggle to answer follow-up questions about the dangers of vaccinations to patients and parents alike. But there’s also a different between taking courses in medical school about vaccinations and knowing how to read scientific literature with a fairly complex understanding of statistics. It’s the researchers and statisticians, not the doctors, that I trust most when it comes to weighing the pros and cons of vaccinations. And I say this as someone who works with family practice doctors everyday–though some of them can also just talk and talk about how vaccines work, regardless of how much they actually learned about it in school.

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