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Maybe the internet doesn’t have as bad an effect as many think

If you paid attention only to the last couple of years’ worth of media-hyped stories about vaccine-preventable diseases in North America, I am pretty sure that you would think that the influence of the anti-vaccine mobs has gotten much more prevalent, and that they’ve managed to convince millions of people not to vaccinate themselves, and even more important, not to vaccinate their kids, especially with the triple vaccine (MMR) against mumps, measles, and rubella.

So you may be surprised to learn – I certainly was – that according to a large American survey just released, the percentage of American who believe that the MMR vaccine is “very helpful” has in fact grown substantially over the last 3 years.

So while the percentage of people who believe the MMR vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks has remained pretty stable but at the very high level of 88% (I’m good in math so let me point out that that means that it’s only 12 % of Americans who think that the MMR vaccine is not helpful, and this in a country where 20 % of the population thinks Elvis is still alive and that we never landed on the moon), the percentage of people who consider the MMR vaccine to very highly preventive has grown by 11%, this during an era when the anti-vaccine Twitterers have been very loud in their condemnation of vaccines in general but especially against the MMR vaccine.

As a terrible aside, I should mention that the number of deaths from measles, which are largely borne, of course, by kids, has climbed to over 6000 in the Congo’s recent battle with measles.

Anyway, bottom line is easy and can’t be repeated often enough: Vaccines are perhaps the medical world’s most important contributors to our well-being, especially for our kids, and when you vaccinate everyone in your family, you are also doing way more for the health of the planet’s people than any amount of recycling or veggie diet can ever do.