How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement
304 pp., 5 x 8 in, 4 b&w illus.
- Published: September 8, 2020
- Published: September 8, 2020
From science advocate and March on Science National Co-Chair Jonathan M. Berman, an essential takedown of the anti-vaccination movement, from its nineteenth-century antecedents to today's Facebook activists, offering strategies for refuting false claims of friends and family.
Vaccines are a documented success story, one of the most successful public health interventions in history. Yet there is a vocal anti-vaccination movement, featuring celebrity activists (including Kennedy scion Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and actress Jenny McCarthy) and the propagation of anti-vax claims through books, documentaries, and social media. In Anti-Vaxxers, Jonathan Berman explores the phenomenon of the anti-vaccination movement, recounting its history from its nineteenth-century antecedents to today's activism, examining its claims, and suggesting a strategy for countering them.
Written by one of the founders of the 'March for Science' movement, Anti-vaxxers is a tour-de-force examination of anti-vax arguments that is destined to become a classic in the field. Before you get into another argument with an anti-vaxxer, simply pull this book off the shelf, hand it to them, and say 'here.'
Lee McIntyre, Research Fellow, Center for Philosophy and History of Science, Boston University; author of Post-Truth and The Scientific Attitude
In Anti-Vaxxers, Jonathan Berman reveals the strategies, influence, and psychology of a movement that the World Health Organization has called one of the top ten threats to global health. An urgent and engaging read.
Paul A. Offit, Professor of Pediatrics, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; author of Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far
"Science professor Berman debuts with a useful guide for readers concerned about the opposition to vaccinations...The book's greatest value comes from its insights into how common cognitive errors can lead even the well-informed to see false correlations between vaccination and health problems. Berman also provides practical suggestions about how best to engage, and potentially convert, vaccine opponents, arguing that 'people change their own minds; we can't do it for them.' Given hopes for a Covid-19 vaccine, this accomplished exploration of a vexing topic couldn't be more timely."
"Berman dispels anti-vax fears and subterfuges with straight, scientific evidence."
“The book does not attack the movement, but rather provides readers with historical and cultural context to understanding the beliefs of those within the anti-vaccination movement…Recommended for those countering the anti-vaccination movement, as well as those with an interest in cultural and historical antecedents of the movement.”
"This accessible and informative book provides not only a rational analysis of the many sources of anti-vaccine thinking, but also practical ideas that can be used to overcome objections against vaccines. Extensive notes and references make this a good starting point for readers who want to delve deeper."
“Berman, an assistant professor of basic science at an osteopathic medical school, explores the history of anti-vaccine movements and how best to counter them. Such movements, he finds, share beliefs and features: wariness of government control, distrust of the medical establishment and its products, false claims about vaccines (often made by people with economic interests), and unfounded fears of harm, spread by misinformation and social media. Those most vulnerable to such claims are often parents trying to decide what is best for their children's health. Rather than learning from reliable sources why childhood vaccines are necessary to protect both individuals and the population as a whole from infections, they may receive unreliable information from others in their community who oppose vaccination...Berman's advice on how to talk with people who are uncertain about vaccinating their children is enlightening and practical."
The Washington Post Book World
"A clear and insightful book."
"Anti-vaxxers is a book that reminds us of the historical precedents to the odd alliances — anti-vaccine, anti-mask, anti-5G, for instance — that are getting in the way of public health right now...By taking the story of vaccine opposition back to its earliest examples, Anti-vaxxers cautions against simplistic solutions. In tracing the movement across three centuries, Berman underlines that is unlikely to be ended by keyboard warriors or the repetition of even the best scientific evidence."