No Needles: Why Vaccination Proponents' Persuasive Methods are Counterintuitive

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It’s hard to imagine a world without vaccines—a world where “getting sick” had the potential to be fatal (or at least cause irreparable damage to one’s body). In this world, diseases robbed millions of bright-eyed children of their lives. Thankfully, though, with the development of vaccines, populations have grown larger and healthier over the past century. Sadly, despite the improved longevity of our species, many people are still undecided about—or vehemently against—childhood vaccination. They claim that vaccinations are dangerous and responsible for autism and other conditions. Medical experts, however, refute these claims by citing both the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations. In fact, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines require years of testing before they’re licensed, and even after being licensed, they’re still observed and tested scrupulously to ensure that they are, without a doubt, safe. Most importantly, the CDC also states that there is no evidence linking childhood vaccinations to the development of autism (Addressing Common Concerns, 2013). That’s right, absolutely none. Zip, nada, do-da. The primary problem, however, does not stem from a lack of reliable information. It stems from an abundance of misinformation and ineffective persuasion. Researchers have discovered that the persuasive tactics employed by childhood vaccination proponents in attempts to combat misinformation are actually counterintuitive, in that they routinely cause parents to object to vaccinating their children even more so. Needless to say, proponents of childhood vaccination have thus far failed to bridge the gap between rational, scientific discussion and the deep, powerful love parents feel for their c...

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