Originally Posted by Deborah
What is an anti-vaccine agenda? What goals do you think are being pursued by the anti-vaccine movement in the US and worldwide?
Sorry I haven't replied to this before now – have been pretty busy, so took a bit of time off from the forums.
What I meant here by 'anti-vaccine agenda' is a fundamental distrust of vaccines that I see a lot in vaccine debates. Anti-vaxxers (for want of a better term – if you can think of a different term for this kind of attitude towards vaccination then fire ahead, I'm listening) have a deep-rooted immovable conviction that vaccines are terribly harmful in some way. It's often not clear which
way, so you get a lot of shifting of the prevailing claim (once it was the DPT that was the bad guy, then it was the MMR, then it was mercury in vaccines, now it's other vaccine ingredients – the one consistent feature is that there is always some way in which vaccines are being blamed for something scary) but they are absolutely certain that, in some way, vaccines are ultimately going to turn out to have dire consequences.
For people with this sort of attitude, it just doesn't matter what the evidence shows or what people on the pro-vaccine side do – everything is interpreted through this filter of 'Vaccines are harmful'. There is literally no amount of research that can convince them otherwise. It doesn't matter how many studies get done, or how reassuring the findings are, or how well the risk-benefit profile of vaccines compares to that of the VPDs... there is simply nothing that would ever get these people to a point of feeling comfortable with the vaccine schedule. Because, for them, it isn't about what the science shows. It's about their conviction that vaccines are harmful.
So, that's why I don't trust those people as a source of good information about vaccines. It's like trying to get your information about evolution from creationist sources; I have no doubt they're acting in good faith, but they have powerful pre-existing convictions which colour their view of the evidence hopelessly.
As for what goals they're pursuing, that's hard to say - it always seems to be about what they're against, not so much about what they're for. I mean, they'll talk in general terms about being 'pro safe vaccine', but that never seems to be expressed in terms of wanting the schedule to be such-and-such, or wanting to change the composition of vaccines to such-and-such. I've never seen them give a specific goal as to what changes in the current vaccines would make them happy about vaccines, and I doubt whether such a goal exists. I think that whatever were to get changed about the vaccine schedule or how vaccines are made or whatever, they'd still find some reason to raise concerns about the dangers of vaccines. Because... at bottom, for them, it's about fearing vaccines.