You’ve likely come in contact with an anti-vaxxer or two by now. If you haven’t, you’ve undoubtedly read the controversy surrounding the movement online. Anti-vaxxers are a group of people that refuse to vaccinate their children because they claim the vaccines themselves are not safe. From claims that they’re no longer needed to argue that they cause autism, there seems to be a never-ending stream of false claims in the anti-vaxxer belief system. Trying to change the mind of an anti-vaxxer is a challenge, to say the least, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work!
Tailor the Conversation
Although some common themes seem to be present among the anti-vaxxer community, each parent has their own set of reasons keeping them from vaccinating. Before you begin jumping into a stimulating conversation with them, take some time to hear out their concerns and gauge exactly where they’re coming from. This will allow you to focus on the areas that relate to them, without overwhelming them with the information they don’t need to hear. If the anti-vaxxer is simply hesitant but not hard pressed against vaccinating, you may be able to change their mind with a few simple facts and answers to their uncertainty. If you’re dealing with a more stubborn anti-vaxxer, you’ll likely find better results by giving them information and allowing them to review it on their own, rather than trying to change their mind on the spot.
Explain Herd Immunity
Herd immunity is the concept behind vaccinations. Herd immunity works by vaccinating the majority of a population to protect the entirety. This protects those with compromised immune systems or those too young to be treated. Believe it or not, many anti-vaxxers believe that vaccines are no longer necessary because the diseases they protect against are rarely seen anymore. That’s because herd immunity is working! When an anti-vaxxer chooses not to vaccinate, they’re putting the protection of the entire population at risk. When that happens, diseases that were once eradicated will quickly begin to resurface. This can explain the sudden rise in the number of measles and mumps cases around the globe. Many anti-vaxxers don’t understand the importance of herd immunity and how it works. Take the time to explain it to them in simple terms, you may be surprised at how quickly it can change their mind!
When it comes to an anti-vaxxer, your best tool is the scientific facts that prove vaccinations are safe. Come prepared with facts that can’t be denied if you want to stand a chance of changing their mind!