Social media can be used for or against the public good. Anti-vaccine activists are flooding social platforms with unsupportable statements which, while not accurate, reinforce others' views and get shared by the community.
“Going up against the anti-vaccine movement is a thankless task for a number of reasons. For one, the goalpost is moving,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and dean of the school of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
“So if you can explain why MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine doesn’t cause autism, they’ll turn around and say well it must be thimerosal in vaccines. If you debunk this, then they’ll say ‘well we are spacing vaccines too close together’ and if you debunk that and then it’s aluminum in vaccines,” he added.
“I call it the global health whack-a-mole.”
One pediatrician, Dr. Eve Switzer, says that it is important to counter the false claims:
“So if we ignore these anti-vaccine people with all of the nonsense that they are putting on social media, I really feel like that it gives them a greater voice. I think more pediatricians should be involved in putting stuff out on social media to counter the misleading and just blatantly false information that they use.”
Unfortunately, thoughtful dialog is difficult when one group insists on using unscientific arguments so this issue will likely continue rather than abate.
Source: NBC News