The concerns the efficacy and safety of vaccination. From the view point of majority, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks, especially because vaccination has, since the mid-twentieth century, eliminated major infectious scourges and reduce the mortality rate. The controversy, however, have increased. Some personalities, including the medical and political figures and social groups opposed to vaccination consider that the vaccine requirement is a violation of individual liberties, the bodily integrity or the side effects of vaccination are the most significant and sometimes catastrophic. The issue of theoretical validity of the vaccination is sometimes questioned as well.
Anti-vaccination movement arose soon after Edward Jenner developed the first vaccine against smallpox. The main arguments of opponents of vaccination at that time were religious. With the development of the mass vaccination and there was the growth of the anti-vaccination movement.
In the second half of the 19th century, the first anti-vaccination organization was founded. In 1866, there appeared the English National Anti-Vaccination League and Anti-Vaccination Society of America was founded in 1879. In the 1870-1880, a lot of the anti-vaccination literature began to appear. The opponents of vaccination published several magazines. The main arguments of the movement at that time were inefficient and unsafe vaccination and human rights abuses by mandatory vaccinations. The basis of the movement were supporters of alternative medicine: homeopaths, chiropractic, herbal medicine doctors.
The feature of the modern anti-vaccination movement is the active use of the Internet. As the researchers note, the anti-vaccination sites are copying information without due diligence, a large number of cross-references, and absence of the references to the scientific literature. Plus, they note the emotional coloration of the information and often unreliability of it, as well as the use of elements of the conspiracy theories and postmodern arguments, such as the deviation of biomedical and scientific evidence in favor of their own interpretation. According to some researchers, such propaganda may lead to the rejection of vaccination by gullible or insufficiently educated people.
Professor Robert Wolfe and Lisa Sharpe note that main arguments the anti-vaccination movement presented on the Internet, do not differ from the arguments they presented at the end of the 19th century.
Few deny the enormous health benefits for the population, which vaccination offers, many more people are concerned about its safety. All vaccines can cause side effects so the safety of immunization is very important.
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