Half of Americans Believe in Medical Conspiracy Theories. That’s Dangerous.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate. That … really shouldn’t be the question. But for some reason it is in America.
Deadly diseases such as measles and polio are no longer a threat to the majority of vaccinated Americans. (As The Times’ editorial board recently wrote: “Vaccination doesn’t immunize every person who gets the shots; some of the recent California cases were among people who had been vaccinated.”)
Despite widespread fears, scientific consensus has shown no correlation between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism. A 1998 report in Lancet that started the controversy has since been widely debunked. And yet a University of Chicago survey published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine reveals that half of Americans believe in medical conspiracy theories. A full 20% believe the government and the medical world are pushing vaccinations on children that cause autism.
That number is both startling and extremely dangerous.