Anti-vaxxers, as parents more afraid of vaccinating their children than they are of deadly diseases are called, tend to be affluent and well educated, according to a new report.
Nearly 20 diseases are confirmed to be vaccine-preventable, according to the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University. The parents who don’t believe in the lifesaving preventative tool seem to be somewhat distrustful of standard medicine.
“They tend to be better educated,” institute director Daniel Salmon told ABC News. “They tend to have larger families and they tend to use complementary and alternative medicine like chiropractors and naturopaths.”
Salmon’s remarks come amid a measles outbreak so severe in Washington state that officials have declared a public health emergency in two counties. The outbreak has been directly blamed on low vaccination rates.
The problem started in 1998, according to Vox, when a since-discredited study published in The Lancet, a well-regarded medical journal, implied that there might be a link between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Click on the link now, and the study has a big red “Retracted” stamped on it, in scarlet capital letters.
But that is just one of hundreds of websites chock full of vaccine misinformation. Salmon told ABC News. These messages are amplified by social media, and there is little pushback by scientists.