Are anti-vaccine people conspiracy theorists generally?

Posted
by Emergent Emergent, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience.

I have an old friend from years ago who I now keep in touch with on Facebook. Her posts are fascinating in the amazing variety of conspiracy theories, some outrageous, some maybe partially true. She's a big believer that cannabis oil will cure just about anything and that information of course is being suppressed by the drug companies and the government.

She blames many, if not all, health problems on vaccines. She also subscribes to some disturbing anti-Semitic ideologies, blaming the network of high powered Jews, led by the evil Rothschild family.

I swear, the internet has turned slightly eccentric people into extremists. 30 years ago this woman was into macrobiotics, native Americans, and New Age philosophies.

CelticGoddess, BSN, RN

Specializes in Palliative, Onc, Med-Surg, Home Hospice. Has 6 years experience. 896 Posts

I frequent a message board that has a resident conspiracy nut (this guy is almost certifiable). I mean this guy is a flat earth, geocentric, we never landed on the moon believer who also has all sorts of theories for the Vegas shooting, 9-11 etc. He is also convinced that vaccines are a plot by the federal government, some mind control project or some such nonsense. Personally, I think he read too many John Saul books when he was younger and thought they were history books.

Most of the anti-vaccine people I come across (and sadly, some of them are nurses) aren't huge into conspiracies. They seem to be big on essential oils, cannabis oils, fad diets etc. But honestly, I wouldn't surprise me if a lot of anti-vaccine people have some belief in conspiracy theories.

As a side note; My sister, who is a writer, has come up with some pretty crazy conspiracies (she doesn't believe any of them). My favorite is her explanation for why some people in my family have their names misspelled on their birth certificates (usually a vowel is either missing or changed, for example Louise instead of Louisa or Ann instead of Anna). My sister calls it the Indiana Vowel Conspiracy. Some conspiracy theories are funny. Others, just make you scratch your head and worry about humanity!

AJJKRN

AJJKRN

Specializes in Medical-Surgical/Float Pool/Stepdown. Has 6+ years experience. 1,224 Posts

I personally look for the tinfoil hats myself :-)

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,297 Posts

No, not all. I used to be anti-vaccine. I've never been a big conspiracy theorist.

Orion81RN

Has 7 years experience. 962 Posts

No, not all. I used to be anti-vaccine. I've never been a big conspiracy theorist.

Do you mind sharing what changed your mind on vaccines?

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,580 Posts

I don't know about conspiracy theory, but many are highly uneducated and paranoid about science and pride themselves on being "all-natural."

And if you talk to most elderly people who actually lived through polio and other illnesses that have been eradicated by vaccines, they will say that immunizations are God-sent. These young people haven't got a clue how fortunate they are to live in today's times instead of the thirties.

I'm sure FDR would agree.

37changes, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience. 383 Posts

No, I don't think they are all conspiracy theorists at all. I think there are a lot of people who just don't feel good, for a variety of reasons. I think there are a lot of those people who have been the mainstream medical route (often at great length) and either got no help at all or ended up worse off than they were before. And so, I think a lot of those people who already don't feel good are very hesitant about injecting something foreign into their bodies. There are also a lot of vaccine horror stories out there which you can't help but stumble across if you are spending time on "alternative" sites. So I think fear of the unknown or the what ifs is plenty of reason for people to choose to avoid vaccines. No conspiracy required. :)

Surg-OncRN

Surg-OncRN

Specializes in Med-Surg., Oncology, Observational Units. Has 11 years experience. 3 Articles; 104 Posts

No, I don't think they are all conspiracy theorists at all. I think there are a lot of people who just don't feel good, for a variety of reasons. I think there are a lot of those people who have been the mainstream medical route (often at great length) and either got no help at all or ended up worse off than they were before. And so, I think a lot of those people who already don't feel good are very hesitant about injecting something foreign into their bodies. There are also a lot of vaccine horror stories out there which you can't help but stumble across if you are spending time on "alternative" sites. So I think fear of the unknown or the what ifs is plenty of reason for people to choose to avoid vaccines. No conspiracy required. :)

I could not have said it better myself!

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,297 Posts

Do you mind sharing what changed your mind on vaccines?

Indoctrination ;)

Seriously, though...like breastfeeding and using cloth diapers...as my infants turned into big kids and then adults, it was an issue that no longer affected me in a personal manner and I started caring less (well, not breastfeeding - I still care, but if a woman chooses not to breastfeed, I don't have the mental energy or headspace to wring my hands in despair over the health of her child).

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience. 1 Article; 2,672 Posts

According to my own purely anecdotal observations, many anti vaxxers are just deeply disquiet about multiple life issues which may not have anything to do with vaccinations. Anti-vax movement provides them a convenient and even kind of fashionable outlet to express denial, undoing and all other negative defensive mechanisms, whatever the real cause(s) of their dissatisfaction with reality and life might be.

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB. Has 10 years experience. 1,608 Posts

I think there are definitely anti-vaxxers that are crazy conspiracy theorists, but those aren't the norm. Most people really do want the best for their children and feel that they are making the safest choice in not vaccinating. What caused their fear of vaccines probably varies---experience with a child who has had one of the rare, true vaccine reactions that causes debilitating injury; having a child with developmental delays and feeling less upset about it if they can find a convenient source to blame; going to pediatricians who are not good listeners and who shut down any questions or conversations about vaccines, etc. I think most are well-intentioned, albeit misguided.

Livelaughlove72

Livelaughlove72

Has 1 years experience. 54 Posts

In my case it isn't conspiracy theory but the way I was raised. My family is of the Christian Scientist faith, so I grew up receiving minimal medical care and my parents challenged our school for every vaccine, because vaccines go against this church's practices. I won't bore this group with details about the church, as we eventually grew away from the church and I am not really vocal about this part of our upbringing. And I think it's changed since I was a kid, and people vary in how serious they are about their faith. I have never had a flu shot, but will if it's ever required of me (I am not a healthcare professional). I think carefully about anything that I put in my body, from food to medicine to vaccines, before I do it. But I think most people do that.