Strains of Resistance

The evolution of anti-vaccine arguments.

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CLAIM

WHEN

WHO

UPSHOT

Mercury-containing preservative thimerosal in vaccines causes autism.

1999-
2001

Advocacy group SafeMinds, Robert Kennedy Jr., et al.

Five studies find no link; autism rates stay constant after mercury-containing vaccines pulled.

Measles-mumps-rubella (mmr) shot causes autism.

1998

British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield

14 studies find no link; Wakefield’s research funded by lawyers suing vaccine makers.

Aluminum salts in vaccines affect mental development.

Since the ’90s

Baby guru Dr. Robert W. Sears

There’s about as much aluminum in the average vaccine as in a quart of formula.

Vaccines deprive immune system of needed workout.

Since 1970s

Some alternative medicine practitioners including followers of Waldorf originator Rudolf Steiner

Immune system gets plenty of action from everyday germs.

Vaccines may create new disease organisms.

Since 1960s

Perennial concern of vaccine developers

No “replacement diseases” have ever arisen, but possibility exists.

Vaccines are spiritual pollution.

Since 18th c.

Some Rosicrucians, others

Rosi-who?

Read: Vaccine Skeptics vs. Your Kids

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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