Why “Anti-Vaxxers” Are Really “Ex-Vaxxers”

In the 1920s, Edward Bernays, the so-called “father of public relations,” wrote several influential books outlining the principles of successful propaganda. In his book by that title, Bernays argued that “the mind of the people…is made up for it by…those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion” and know how to skillfully supply the public with “inherited prejudices” and “verbal formulas.” Bernays’ comments come to mind in the current climate of hostility and intolerance being directed against individuals pejoratively dubbed by the vaccine lobby as “anti-vaxxers.” The dumbed-down propaganda being plastered across the mainstream media on an almost daily basis would have the public believe that anyone who questions any aspect of vaccination is ignorant, selfish or both. However, there is a glaring flaw with this logic. The incontrovertible fact—which the legislators, regulators, reporters and citizens who are participating in mass tarring and feathering are not honest enough to admit—is that many of the people classified as “anti-vaxxers” are actually “ex-vaxxers” whose dutiful adherence to current vaccine policies led to serious vaccine injury in themselves or a loved one.