The anti-vaccination movement

The anti-vaccination movement has a long history, beginning in France in 1763 and continuing through to today. As with all hot-button issues, it’s important to have accurate information and listen to both sides of the story. In the below infographic, developed by Mark Kirkpatrick, a freelance health journalist and dietitian, we discuss the reasoning and history behind the anti-vaccination movement.  In the early days of immunization, distrust in vaccines was well-warranted. There was no official quarantine procedure for those who’d already been inoculated and 18th Century doctors didn’t have quite the same standards as us when it came to sanitation and disease prevention. But as you can see, medical knowledge and standards have progressed greatly since those times and today’s vaccinations are a safe and effective tool in battling global health issues such as measles and rubella.

More than just a timeline of anti-vaccination movements, this infographic also includes useful information about vaccination itself, some of which might very well surprise you. For example: did you know that the first immunizations were administered in China in the 10th Century BCE? Or that the famed French philosopher Voltaire argued strongly for immunizations?

Best Practice Guidance on How to Respond to Vocal Vaccine Deniers



Click here for a high res version.

16 responses to “The anti-vaccination movement”

  1. […] According to The Measles & Rubella Initiative, the widespread anti-vaccination movement in America began in 2007 because of a celebrities influence. The CDC reported less than 100 cases across the country in 2007, which is consistent with numbers from years prior. However, in 2008 scientists documented approximately 150 cases which the CDC attributes to “spread in communities with groups of unvaccinated people”. Looking at data from one year after the catalyst to the anti-vaccine movement may not warrant much of a conclusion so we can turn to data from 2014 onward, 7 years after the initial statement from the celebrity. The CDC data shows the number of cases being over 100 for 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018 with 2016 as the exception. This suggests to me that the number of measles cases has increased since 2007, but I am still unsure whether it is due to unvaccinated populations in the United States. […]

  2. JD says:

    Currently Northern Oregon is in the midst of a measles outbreak in which the majority of those infected are from non-vaccinated families. It is spreading rapidly, among non-vaccinated children. As of today the number is 41 confirmed, 30 under age 10, 15 more suspected. At least 31 had not been vaccinated.

  3. Kate says:

    Hi, amazing people! Thank you a lot for this infographic! We would like to have it translated to Ukrainian – we have measles outbreak at the moment (over 53K people got measles in 2018, and over 15K people were already diagnosed with it by the end of January 2019). Antivaxxers are one of the reasons for the situation. We will try to edit the image, but if you have some kind of editable .pdf with will be way faster.

  4. Izzy Ozkurt says:

    I am a journalism major at Ithaca College and I am writing a story about anti vaccinators and I would love for someone to to answer some questions via email. Thanks!

  5. […] that same infection seems counter-intuitive, and early on in the life of vaccines, there were some failed attempts at inoculating […]

  6. Brandon Than says:

    I am doing a school project about anti-vaccinators and I would like for someone to answer some of my questions via email. My email is

  7. […] imagine the kind of hell that mumps, measles, or rubella can cause? What do they hope to achieve? Where does the anti-vaxxer impulse come from? Certainly, these people must love their children. Millions of people have received vaccines with no […]

  8. Mihir Bacha Pendse says:

    Amazing content. Thank you for all your hard work!

  9. […] is best for their child become much more prevalent in more generally progressive demographics. ( A new demographic of parents with these independent beliefs are recalling this case study from […]

  10. […] menjadi topik hangat di Malaysia apabila munculnya golongan anti-vaksin yang secara terang-terangan menolak pemberian vaksin oleh Kementerian […]

  11. M.F says:

    I am doing a project for my class on the topic of vaccines and anti-vaxxers. Thanks for the info!

  12. […] common misconception we hear is that vaccination can lead to autism. US celebrity Jenny McCarthy announced to the world that her son’s autism was caused by vaccination in 2007, after a fraudulent research paper was released a few years […]

  13. […] a big topic that has risen over the past few months have been vaccinations. It’s a normal thing and something people didn’t really think about a year ago. Getting […]

  14. […] focus on a limited number of topics which are deemed important with significant consequences. The anti-vaccination movement and those who believe in flat-earth theory are both spreading anti-scientific and fake […]

  15. […] theory as to why the number of people vaccinating against measles has dropped? The rise in anti-vaccination ideology and the spread of misinformation about both the viral infection and the […]

  16. Vivian Moen says:

    Thanks for the historical information that provided a clear picture of in biased facts. I intend to recommend this site to others in Oregon since the anti vaxx movement is growing. I am fearful of the health safety of the children in this wonderful state.

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