The Anti-Vaccination Movement


Alexis Ramirez

We live in a society that is aggressively cynical. Many search for mysteries, secrets, twists, and patterns where there are none. The American people have developed an intense distrust in the government and large companies, especially those specializing in food, technology, and pharmaceuticals. One such American is Arihana Figueroa, ‘19, a student at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. “I firmly believe that companies are invading our privacy and inconspicuously collecting data for marketing purposes,” she stated in an interview. With recent scandals involving tech giants like Facebook, it’s not hard to see why Americans have grown distrustful.

However, unlike a rejection of technology and data collection, a rejection of immunization is incredibly dangerous for the American populace. Vaccine hesitancy has become an issue so serious the World Health Organization has identified it as one of the top ten global health threats of 2019. In recent years, the anti-vaccination movements has quickly picked up speed with pediatricians reporting an increase in the number of parents refusing to vaccinate their children. It is important to note that not all anti-vaccination parents refuse to vaccinate their children due to a fear of negative health side effects, but also due to view of vaccines as unnecessary.

Although anti-vaccination parents are often ridiculed, stereotyped, and even mythicized on social media, it is important to remember that these are real people creating a real and dangerous situation. I was surprised to discover that one of my friends, a senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School who prefers to remain anonymous, is the son of an anti-vaccination parent. The student is puzzled by his father’s stance on vaccination, saying, “I don’t get it. He’s a pharmacologist but he’s anti-vaccination. He fought pretty hard to keep me from being vaccinated this year, but he ultimately lost the fight.”

Facts drawn from research studies have proven ineffective in swaying hesitant parents, and attacking these parents’ opinions might actually strengthen their anti-vaccination beliefs, so what will change their minds? “I think these parents will realize their mistake when something big happens,” said Salvador Madera, 19’. It’s hard to say what developments will occur in the debate over immunization, but it’s easy to see why we should be aware of this issue.