Stock Groups

Covid vaccine skepticism fueling wider anti-vax sentiment, doctors say


Demonstrators protest against Covid mandates in New York State Capitol. Albany, New York. January 5, 2022.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Doctors believe that doctor Skepticism regarding Covid-19 vaccines is contributing to an “unsustainable” increase in anti-vax sentiment.

CNBC’s Professor Liam Smeeth was a physician and director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Smeeth stated that he was concerned about the perception it is creating among people: “oh, well maybe this measles vaccine doesn’t work as well as these other vaccines,” in a telephone call. To get measles epidemics, we don’t need to see a lot of measles vaccination coverage in the U.K.

He pointed out that the incidence of the disease had increased in Britain after vaccination rates fell in the early 2000s.

The Lancet medical journal reports that claims of vaccines causing autism led to “tens of thousand of parents worldwide turning against the measles mumps rubella vaccine” in the late 1990s. 2010: The journal retracted a 12-year-old articleLinking vaccines and autism studies have proven vaccines do not cause Autism Spectrum Disorder.

«Jar of Wasps»

Smeeth from London said that measles vaccination rates needed to drop to just below 90% to make the disease a problem.

A highly contagious viral disease, measles can result in serious brain complications like pneumonia. Major epidemics used to occur approximately once in three years before widespread vaccination against measles. The WHO estimates that the disease led to 2.6 million deaths per year.

The United Kingdom last year vaccinated 90.3% (2-year-olds) against measles, mumps, and rubella. One year prior, 96% of similar-aged children were vaccinated.

According to the World Bank figures, in the United States, 91% of children had been vaccinated against the measles at the time of their second birthday. This is a 2 percentage point decrease from last year. The United States does not have any recent data.

This number dropped from 98% in 1988 to 83% between 1992 and then remained below 90% for the next four years. Two-year-olds in Britain fell to below 90% during the late 1990s, and it did not improve until 2011.

Smeeth stated that the measles virus is “like a jam jar filled with wasps, which is trying to escape.” “Measles will return to the United States if vaccine coverage is reduced.” This is something to worry about. [Covid anti-vax sentiment]That confidence loss can be seen in other vaccines. This is an alarming trend.

‘Devastating’ changes

Gretchen LaSalle was a Washington State University medical assistant and physician who spoke out to CNBC. She stated that Covid’s politicization and the lack of information about vaccine ingredients and public safety had both had devastating effects.

LaSalle finished the American Academy of Family Physicians Vaccine Science Fellowship for 2020. LaSalle was an integral part of this program and conducted a survey with more than 2,200 participants to track their attitudes towards immunizations.

Covid vaccines were first administered in December 2020 in the United States.

In an email, LaSalle stated that he witnessed the Covid-19 epidemic firsthand and was able to see the devastation in the lives of people and their livelihoods.

However, 20% of the respondents said that they were less certain about vaccines after the pandemic.

LaSalle declared that “this decrease is worrisome.” A decrease of vaccination rates by 5-10% could prove fatal for measles and other diseases that are highly contagious.

CNBC was told by LaSalle that there are many factors which contributed to the loss of trust in vaccines.

“Even prior to the pandemics, vaccine hesitancy was rising, and we were already seeing deadly diseases returning around the globe,” she stated.

The problem has been exacerbated by the rise in social media and internet as news sources and online misinformation.

She added that because people in the developed world rarely witnessed the devastating effects of vaccine-preventable diseases, for some, the threat of the illnesses doesn’t seem real — and they now fear the vaccination more than the illness itself.

Cases of breakthrough success

However, Vivek Cherian, a Chicago-based internal medicine physician, told CNBC he hadn’t noticed people’s views of non-Covid vaccines changing throughout the pandemic — although he said he could understand why some people’s views on vaccines in general may have been “tainted.”

If they received the Covid vaccination and were subsequently symptomatic with breakthrough infections, then the immediate reaction may have been “What the hell is the point of getting other vaccines?” Why bother with other vaccines?” In an email, he stated the following:

“I always tell my patients when they have that kind of thing that occurs that they can still get an infection. But it could be much worse. [were unvaccinated] — and the data overwhelmingly says that your chance of hospitalization and death are significantly reduced when vaccinated and boosted.”

Cherian stated that it is important to remember that Covid vaccines are not the only ones effective.  

He suggested, “Just imagine the annual flu vaccine.” I received the flu vaccine a few years back and got it again. However, that did not stop me from receiving influenza shots every year.