Losing the anti-vaccine fight, and what we should do next

The fight versus anti-vaccine proponents is a losing one.

Orac, a general surgeon who blogs over at Respectful Insolence, is on the front lines of the debate. In this post, he writes about how vaccine supporters are facing an uphill battle:

One problem is that vaccines have been so successful that parents rarely see the full, ugly consequences of the diseases against which vaccines defend anymore. The other problem is that normal people can’t adequately judge risk. They cannot understand that they do many, many things with their children that pose far more risk to them than vaccination ever could for a lesser benefit. For example, the risk of dying in an auto collision is several orders of magnitude higher than of a serious adverse event from a vaccine. The risk of death from playing baseball (hardball) is also several orders of magnitude higher than injury from a vaccine . . .

Also, and I’ve alluded to this before, anti-vaccinationists have a compelling story that no physician or scientist can fight against. Indeed, as Orac says, competing against the likes of Jenny McCarthy is a “no-win situation.”  Especially since they have Oprah on their side.

I agree with his take that it’s impossible to change the minds of those already convinced that vaccines cause harm. He suggests refocusing our efforts not on these people, but for those where are undecided.