How the anti-vaccination movement took root in America

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Vaccines have gone from experimental care to saving millions of lives every year.

But one in four Americans does not want to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Gallup poll released Monday. Hesitation is fueled by concerns about side effects and misinformation.

But the hesitation is not unique to these times. Prior to COVID-19, the number of Americans who thought vaccinations were important had been warming up for 20 years.

In 1982, a documentary entitled “Roulette Vaccine” wrongly claimed the DTP vaccine caused brain damage. The consequences have been devastating for the vaccine industry. Six of the seven companies that manufactured the vaccine have stopped production, too the researchers found no connection between vaccine and brain damage.

A few years later, another vaccine suffered a similar fate. In 1998, British doctor Andrew Wakefield claimed it MMR vaccine could cause autism. Vaccination rates for MMR have fallen across Europe, and there have been outbreaks of measles, according to report by the World Health Organization. But Wakefield’s research also proved flawed.

While the vaccine campaign continued to produce, the WHO he labeled it a global threat in 2019.

But vaccines have wiped out other diseases. It is because of mass vaccination that the number of cases of polio has dropped significantly and that chickenpox has been eradicated worldwide.

Let’s look at how vaccine demand has grown, and why many still refuse to get vaccinated – even during a pandemic.

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