More parents are questioning the necessity of routine vaccinations for young children. Adults are skipping shots as well, even for vaccines with a long safety record.
The trend comes amid a wave of misinformation and disinformation about Covid-19 and the vaccines that helped to stem pandemic deaths. Politicization of the Covid-19 shots has bolstered the anti-vaccine movement, contributing to the decline in routine immunizations for measles, polio and other dangerous diseases.
"They ask if these are truly necessary, or if we can give them at later times," said Jason Terk, a Texas pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics...
Social media have helped create a coalition that includes true anti-vaccine believers, libertarians and conservative political figures. These segments have been amplified by disinformation actors from Russia and elsewhere, said David Broniatowski, a George Washington University professor and associate director of the school's Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics.
"People have been opposing vaccines for as long as there have been vaccines, but they've gotten more sophisticated over the past 10 years and a lot of that has been because of the ability to organize on social media across boundaries," said Broniatowski, who researches vaccine disinformation.