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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Republicans and Vaccines

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Philip Bump at WP reports on a new WP/ABC poll:
[M]ore than 7 in 10, say they would get a free vaccine, with 43 percent saying they would definitely do so. Among Republicans, though, only 58 percent say they would probably or definitely get the vaccine — with a quarter saying they definitely wouldn’t.

To some extent, that reflects existing skepticism about the importance of vaccinations. Gallup polling published in January shows that Democrats are 13 points more likely than Republicans to say that they think it’s extremely or very important that parents vaccinate their children. In 2001, the gap was only 4 points, and more than 90 percent of both Democrats and Republicans indicated that vaccinating children was important.

In the years since, there has been a concerted campaign aimed at undermining the utility of vaccines, often stemming from the erroneous belief that there’s a link between vaccines and autism. The result has been a subtle decline in confidence in vaccines, one which has been larger among Republicans than Democrats.
Amy Goldstein and Scott Clement at WP:
The poll finds that 15 percent say they will definitely not get vaccinated against the virus, even if one is free and available to everyone. Among Republicans, 24 percent hold this view. Of all those who say they definitely or probably will not get vaccinated, half say that is because they do not trust vaccines in general and nearly one-fourth say one is not necessary in this instance.
Dr. Suneel Kamath at US News:
No vaccine has ever caused autism. Multiple studies conducted by the CDC and the Institute of Medicine since 2003 have definitively proven this. Many wrongly correlated the recent rise in autism rates with more vaccines. They wrongly assumed that kids developing autism within days or weeks of getting vaccines meant the vaccines caused their autism. Greater awareness of the signs and symptoms by parents and doctors led to better recognition of autism and, therefore, more diagnoses. Vaccines were falsely-convicted, innocent bystanders.