By Andrew Goyvaerts
Lately all one comes by online, in particular social media, are stories from vaccine denialists. This is not a new trend with everything from HIV, to chemotherapy and the holocaust being subject of theories. When non deniers point out the impact of harm such theories can cause the rebuttal is “we have a right to question” well yes this is very true, everyone has the right to, and should, question things in life however, questioning is not what denialists are doing.
In most cases they are categorically stating their version of events are correct, that the other side is totally incorrect while concocting some cover up or another and completely ignoring facts.
Scores of people who are living with HIV or contracted an illnesses long eradicated from general society through vaccination, listened to these ignorant views, so deviously constructed and cruelly aired, those people paid for it with their lives or that of their children.
Does this fact not resonate at all? Is their any part within a denialist that imagines their child, niece, nephew, brother, sister or parent to be one those people who have died because of such untruths?
The answer to those questions we will never know, what we do know for sure is that numerous people have stated denialist theories as reason for failing to seek medical treatment, a lack of which has resulted in serious harm or death. Sure their are those who can say they have followed such theories only to live healthily, lucky them that they were not one of the many more who paid a very costly price.
Realistically, in the era of technology society is experiencing it will never fully rid itself of stories like one shouldn’t vaccinate or take a certain medication due to mostly unfounded, outlandish claims but it can do a lot more to counteract and target them.
To begin government should take it far more seriously, in the UKs case it is ultimately the government that will pay the price of an unhealthy person, health boards and trusts along with the uber rich pharmaceutical companies should conduct awareness campaigns to dispel myths that stem from denialism. Individually, people should be conscious of denialist theories in the hope that they do not fall prey in future, while these theories might not effect someone today they very well could tomorrow.
Finally if you are a denialist please realise the anguish you cause by targeting vulnerable people with unfounded or untruthful claims in what can only be described as a despicable act of selfishness.