A new analysis from several institutions has found that between 2009 to 2019, conversations around civil liberties in the anti-vaccine community had increased, with Facebook pages framing vaccines as an issue of values and civil rights.
Researchers reviewed over 200 Facebook pages supporting vaccine refusal for their paper published in the American Journal of Public Health this month.
David A. Broniatowski, the paper's lead author, said current protests against government lockdowns and masks took their pages directly from the anti-vaccine playbook.
“We could’ve seen it coming,” said Broniatowski, an associate professor at George Washington University's School of Engineering and Applied Science.
In recent weeks, protesters gathered in Massachusetts to demonstrate against the governor’s mandate requiring schoolchildren to receive the influenza vaccine.
In Facebook pages and groups touting medical freedom and vaccine choice, the protesters have called the mandate unconstitutional and say it infringes on their rights.
Historically, the anti-vaccine community has been known for its concerns around vaccine safety and the debunked theory that vaccines cause autism. »