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Covid-19 anti-vaxxers use century-old arguments

October 22, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

As we get closer to an effective vaccine for Covid-19, we should expect to see a renewed push of disinformation and vocal resistance from the anti-vaccination movement.

As a historian of medicine, it has become clear from researching the history of vaccines that those who promote anti-vaccination consistently use a standard set of strategies.

Although it can be hard to see patterns of argument in the modern context, looking back at a historical instance of epidemic and misinformation provides a useful case study for revealing today's recurring anti-vaccination strategies.

Ross, this pamphlet was widely circulated during the smallpox epidemic of 1885 in Montréal, as public health officials were seeking to increase vaccination coverage.

Ross and his anti-vaccination associates were quick to dismiss the threat of smallpox.

Many who promote the anti-vaccination agenda claim vaccines to be more dangerous than the disease.

Although modern arguments have focused on the false claim that vaccines cause autism, historic arguments were much more varied in their allegations of infections from the smallpox vaccine.

The anti-vaccinationists of the past claimed that vaccination caused a full spectrum of diseases, from smallpox itself to syphilis, typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera and "blood-poisoning. "

Last but not least is an appeal to authorities that help legitimize the anti-vaccination argument.

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