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Discussion Starter #1
I've been increasingly frustrated by people and friends who are clinging to their believe that mmr causes autism despite evidence to the contrary. After thinking about it for a while I was thinking...some people will just never change their minds and maybe that's ok.
There's people who deny we went to the moon, people who think the earth is flat (seriously, google 'flat earthers') and people who deny the Holocaust happened. I'm not saying that people who claim there is a mmr/asd link are like Holocaust deniers, I'm just saying that some people won't change their mind despite any amount of evidence. It will never be enough.
So, not rhetorical, what is the actual harm in people holding on to this belief? Is it mostly the spread of misinformation to those who are on the fence?
 

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The harm I see is

1.) It means they aren't going to get their children vaccinated, and the overall spread of VPD because of that due to a myth.

2.) It can mean that their children suffer because instead of ABA or other autism therapies, they get detoxed for "vaccine damage". Similarly, some children with ASD are diagnosed late and don't benefit from early interventions because their parents believe they don't really have autism since they aren't vaccinated.

3.) It confounds literature with pseudoscience and confuses some new parents.

I do agree though, that they should stop trying to convince people who believe this otherwise, because it is impossible to do and is a huge waste of intellectual and financial resources. The newest study included 95,000 children. That was an unbelievably expensive study to show that vaccines are not related to autism. This has been shown over and over and over again. And those who believe that vaccines cause autism? Didn't convert even one of them because they already have conspiracies against the research and reasons why this additional study still isn't evidence that vaccines don't cause autism. I wish that money was spent investigating autism causes and treatments that haven't already been debunked. Those who support wakefield are never going to be convinced so it should be time to give up trying.
 

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Is there any harm to me, or you, or our kids, if some of our friends have erroneous beliefs about vaccines and autism? Probably not. Assuming their kids do not suffer from vaccine preventable diseases as a result of those beliefs, then the beliefs aren't really harming anyone.

Now, if I have to watch a neice or nephew or young cousin of mine suffer from a VPD because their parent was afraid to vaccinate because of MMR/autism myths, then yes I am harmed. Watching people we love suffer is painful and traumatic.

Do these myths have societal harm? Yes. At minimum, they perpetuate and reinforce the notion of conspiracy. If vaccination is dangerous and health professionals are trying to cover up the dangers by repeatedly creating studies that show them not to be dangerous, then we are being intentionally deceived. There are all sorts of implications to that.

There are also risks to parents deciding not to vaccinate in large numbers. If you look at the post-Wakefield measles outbreaks across Europe, many children died and people continue to suffer years later from SSPE due to previous measles infections. These infections are, in large part, a result of the myth.

There is also harm to the autism community as a result of this myth. Whenever autistic traits are used as a weapon to spread fear, it harms autistic people. Many autistic adults, who are self-advocates, are extremely outspoken about the unfair potrayal of autistic people in the vaccine debate. There was a blog post shared in the main forum recently that was horribly dehumanizing (particularly the memes). This kind of tactic is a mainstay of the mmr/autism and vaccines/autism myths.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Y'all are right, I wasn't thinking of the big picture. I think I'm just frustrated.

ETA: I'm embarrassed that it took me so long to see the light. I went through years of being pulled in different directions. I wanted to believe the science but I was pulled away by fear and misinformation. :/
 

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Mamabear - don't be embarrassed. You're so brave coming forward and being open about your change of opinion. And for my part I find it incredibly heartening to hear that it is possible for people to change their minds. :)
 

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I wanted to share this since, even though the subject is about trying to convince others to vaccinate, it covers a lot of basic considerations for simply communicating on this topic from a pro-vax perspective. Communication is important in itself, whether or not anyone leaves having changed their position.

http://violentmetaphors.com/2013/12...sation-how-to-persuade-a-friend-to-vaccinate/

Just thought it might encourage you. It can be frustrating to try to have this discussion, but I think it's important to help people find information or see another perspective, especially if all they are being exposed to is cynicism and fear.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wanted to share this since, even though the subject is about trying to convince others to vaccinate, it covers a lot of basic considerations for simply communicating on this topic from a pro-vax perspective. Communication is important in itself, whether or not anyone leaves having changed their position.

http://violentmetaphors.com/2013/12...sation-how-to-persuade-a-friend-to-vaccinate/

Just thought it might encourage you. It can be frustrating to try to have this discussion, but I think it's important to help people find information or see another perspective, especially if all they are being exposed to is cynicism and fear.
Thanks for that :) It's long so I'll have to read it later but I definitely will.
 
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