The Psychology of Anti-Vaxxers

To avoid potential controversy, I’m going to preface this post with this: get vaccinated. Vaccines save lives. That statement should seem obvious, and yet the past years have seen the rise of the antivaxx movement. Why? Part of the answer is a conspiracy mentality: believing in a sinister, clandestine elite that tricks the masses with elaborate hoaxes in order to further their own agendas is a shockingly good predictor of antivaxx beliefs, data shows. Trump was one of these people, and he was not quiet about it. As a result, vaccines have been inextricably tied with politics, a very dangerous situation indeed. Personal beliefs should have no bearing on matters of public safety. In terms of partisan correlations, there is no simple explanation. Antivaxx beliefs are not limited to the far right or the far left and are more united by conspiracist mindsets. Peoples’ beliefs are a product of their own personalities, cultural and social identities, and ideologies. I think the diagram provided in this article sums up this idea succinctly:

However, people have a right to believe what they want. After all, it is not like antivaxxers came out of their mothers’ womb believing that vaccines would give them autism. What is problematic is how information is spread to people, a topic I discussed in my previous post. Certain people are more susceptible to misinformation, either because of a lack of contrasting evidence or the environment in which they live. If we’re not careful, misinformation can spread as easily as COVID did pre-vaccine. This post is not partisan or even trying to convince people to vaccinate. It is a cautionary tale of the repercussions of ignoring how the human mind processes information when developing policy.

mkahmon

I'm a high school student dedicated to stimulating conversation around mental health.

One thought on “The Psychology of Anti-Vaxxers”

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