Here’s Where Vaccine Skeptics Live Around the World

WTF, France?!


More than 13 percent of Americans disagree with the statement that “vaccines are safe,” according to a new study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. That puts America in the middle of the pack of 67 countries where researchers examined views towards immunizations in what they believe to be the largest survey on vaccine confidence to date. 

Published last week in Ebiomedicine and based on surveys of 66,000 people, the findings show stark variations among countries. France took the lead of vaccine skeptics, with a staggering 41 percent of respondents disagreeing with the statement that vaccines are safe. Authors attribute the country’s “extreme negative sentiment” to controversies over the past two decades around the unproven side effects of a range of vaccines, from hepatitis B to H1N1. (The hesitancy reflects what the French are hearing from their doctors: One in four general practitioners said that vaccines recommended by public health authorities aren’t useful, according to a study last year.)

Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina, less than two percent of respondents were skeptical of vaccine safety.

Authors observed a counterintuitive finding: countries with higher education rates were generally more skeptical of vaccine safety, but within countries, more educated citizens were less skeptical. (Clusters of vocal vaccine skeptics in areas with a highly educated population—like California’s Marin County and Boulder, Colordo—appear to be exceptions to this rule.)  “Our research thus stresses the emerging shift away from access to vaccines as the primary barrier to vaccination in many countries,” the authors write.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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