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Recognizing the Dangers of Vaccination Misinformation

Becoming a parent is a wonderful, amazing experience. But it can also be a confusing and overwhelming one too. Firstly, there’s constant worry over whether your baby is sleeping, feeding, or pooping enough or too much. Secondly, there’s a whole range of never-heard-of-before conditions to deal with such as baby acne, colic, cradle cap, diaper rash, and spilling.

Trying to do what’s best for you and your baby is not easy when everywhere you turn there is conflicting advice. And nothing attracts conflicting advice more than vaccinations.

There is a LOT of misinformation out there about vaccinations, and more than 50% of new parents report having been bombarded by anti-vaccination social media posts within a few weeks of giving birth. Experts believe these scaremongering tactics, which include reports of harm and even death in babies from vaccination, have contributed significantly to waning vaccination rates across the United States. The latest measles outbreak in Washington state and Massachusetts is an inevitable consequence of that misinformation.

Which is why Facebook has announced it will attempt to limit the spread of fake news about vaccinations on its platform, joining other platforms such as YouTube and Pinterest, which have already taken restrictive steps. FB will no longer promote anti-vaxx pages and untrue posts about vaccines will be deprioritized in users feeds.

Because vaccination is, without a doubt, safe and worth it. Only improved sanitation, which includes clean water and proper sewerage disposal, ranks higher than vaccination for extending human life span.

But finding evidence-based, unbiased information about vaccinations isn’t easy. The World Health Organization (WHO) manages vaccine safety net, a global network of websites providing reliable information on vaccine safety, and is a good place to start. Also try the AAP and CDC websites, both well researched and overseen by experts keen to ensure that every American child stays as healthy as possible.

For more (unbiased) information about vaccination and vaccine controversies, see here.

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