Are Vaccines Safe? (Part 1)


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This series of blogs will address an issue at the intersection of science and politics, vaccination. Donald Trump seems to think there is a link between vaccinations and Autism:

Image result for trump on vaccines

Image result for trump on vaccines

Image result for trump on vaccines

Political Associations

A common misconception about anti-vaccination advocates is the conception that they are either uneducated conservatives or a bunch of conspiracy-loving liberals. In truth, anti-vaccination advocates are all over the map politically. One academic source written by Dan M. Kahan of Yale Law School says:

A different popular claim attributes concern over vaccine risks to a left-leaning political orientation. “Vaccine hesitancy” is, on this account, held forth as the “liberal” “anti-science” analog to “conservative” skepticism about climate change (e.g., Green 2011).

The survey results suggest that this position, too, lacks any factual basis. In contrast to risks that are known to generate partisan disagreement generally—ones relating to climate change, drug legalization, and handgun possession, for example—vaccine risks displayed only a small relationship with left-right political outlooks. The direction of the effect, moreover, was the opposite of the one associated with the popular view: respondents formed more negative assessments of the risk and benefits of childhood vaccines as they became more conservative and identified more strongly with the Republican Party.

While this is true, the Democratic Party is not free of anti-vaccination advocates. A significant portion of members of both parties support leaving vaccinations for parents to decide. Thirty-four percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents believe parents should be able to decide to vaccinate their children. Twenty-two percent of Democrats agree with this belief.

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