Is Vaccination a Choice? Why Would People (Not) Get Vaccinated?

Picture of By Emre Yalçın

By Emre Yalçın

In the last 18 months, we have been locked inside our homes and having hard times. From the beginning, according to the experts, the vaccine was the only hope. After a year, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and many other vaccines have been distributed to different countries. After the vaccinations, life is slowly going back to normal. Many people got vaccinated so that community immunity can be established. However, some others believe that these Covid19 vaccines are meaningless. These people did not appear out of nowhere and they have different reasons to not believe in the efficacy of vaccines.

What is the anti-vaccine movement?

Since the beginning of the vaccination history, which goes back to 1797, there have been people who are against it. In the current age, people are supporting this movement for various reasons. Vaccine Resistance Movement (VRM), an anti-vaccination community, stresses that: “epidemics were primarily the result of overcrowding, marked by insufficient hygiene, sanitation & nutrition. In this day and age, given proper access to clean drinking water, modern sanitation methods and a steady organic diet, there is simply no excuse, here in the West, for the exponential surge in cases of early childhood diseases and disorders now gripping our communities”.

Thus they believe that vaccines are not necessary for their babies to grow healthy, because they basically do not need that in the modern era. Just like the VRM, the anti-vaxxers are generally believers that the vaccinations are human rights violations. The anti-vaccine supporters in this pandemic are no different people. This movement mostly believes that the Covid-19 pandemic is a planned disease that was fabricated to lower down the world population and to establish a new world order.  At the same time, they believe that the producers of the vaccines are the same people willing to inject chips under our skins to control and (possibly) kill us when it is time. These theories are popular among the anti-vaccine movement.

What is the logic behind it?

I know it sounds like an evil rich man is willing to kill us just like Valentine in the action spy thriller Kingsman the Secret Service. Why would one of the largest industries around the world destroy their consumers? Why would people believe in these theories?

Most of the people against this movement believe that the lower level of education is the main point of departure of anti-vaccination movements. Primary and secondary schools are the most important era for children to shape their opinions. Teachers with high awareness of the topics and analytical intelligence are necessary to guide the children about any issues. The way things are taught, route the children’s ideas about health (and any other) related issues. Teachers are not the only group of people who teach but they are the most influential in the mental growth of the students. 

However, psychologists also suggest reasons other than lower education. Speaking of evil rich people, anti-vaccine movements have also conjured up conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft. This situation of anti-vaxxers could be related to the rising anti-intellectualism in the population. I, on the other hand, evaluate this anti-intellectualism within the movement more differently. I believe it is not towards the individual intellectual but towards the approach of the intellectuals to the pandemic itself. For example, Bill Gates never talks about any microchips or implants that would be injected into people’s bodies but Elon Musk did. Either way, Bill Gates is the one being produced conspiracy theories against. 

VRM suggests the current world does not need the vaccines anymore, but let’s think: would modern days with healthy humans exist without the vaccinations against many diseases?

Actually, what’s more likely to be the logic behind anti-vaccine movements than the education system and anti-intellectualism is skepticism. I sincerely understand why people would be critical about the importance of vaccines because they might also harm them. But there is also another important factor, which is modern medicine. Science and rationalism are two key factors that we cannot underestimate in the present day. VRM suggests the current world does not need the vaccines anymore, but let’s think: would modern days with healthy humans exist without the vaccinations against many diseases?

Why the danger?

Being a part of this movement is a choice, no one can be judged for not wanting to get a vaccine but trying to impose their views on others should be considered a crime.

The reason for the spread of the virus causing the Covid19 pandemic is still not clear. Full of uncertainties, this situation brings in conspiracy theories such as the “planned virus theory” and the “microchip-in-vaccine theory”. These theories are no different from the old anti-vaccine movement theories used before. What is different this time is that there is a huge fear among the people.

Nobody really knows what to do when it comes to the Covid19 vaccinations because we do not know whether the vaccine would benefit or harm us. Authorities, doctors, in this case, lost their credibility in the beginning of the pandemic because of the lack of knowledge about the illness. As a result, information on social media may seem more credible to some. Currently, social media works very well in terms of spreading disinformation. People who do not know better about this topic are likely to be persuaded by relatively logical ideas. Furthermore, these unacknowledged people about the pandemic and vaccinations also are more likely to spread disinformation on social media.

Prevention from the illness is possible but that from misleading information is nearly impossible.

Spreading disinformation is also a huge problem with people being anti-vaxxers. Prevention from the illness is possible but that from misleading information is nearly impossible. Source and fact-checking therefore becomes crucial. Thus, check what you are liking or sharing; then, we will have more secure sources to rely on.


Cover by: Nataliya Vaitkevich

Edited by: Yili Char

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