Some Anti-Vaxxers Are Rethinking Their Beliefs Due to COVID-19
A Florida resident, Haley Searcy, told CNN that she had been "fully anti-vax" in 2019, but that research into COVID-19 and past pandemics made her reconsider her views.
"I've learned just how rigorous vaccine trials are before they're made available to the public," Searcy told CNN. "I wasn't actively looking for vaccine information, but the more I learned, the more I realized it would help, and the easier it became to recognize the lack of science in anti-vax arguments."
They also contribute to community immunity, which helps protect individuals who are unable to get vaccinated, such as those with compromised immune systems.
"This is an important time to reflect on the value of vaccines," Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, told CNN.
"If we had had a vaccine for this, we wouldn't be locked up in a room, the economies wouldn't be crumbling, we would have been a whole different world,” she added. "The question I would ask is, do we have to wait for something to be this bad?"
However, not all anti-vaxxers are convinced. Tennis star Novak Djokovic recently said that he is opposed to vaccines, according to the Guardian, and one anti-vaxxer named Lynette Marie Baron, who runs an anti-vaccine group called Tough Love, was adamant when speaking to CNN that she had not changed her beliefs, telling the outlet that she believes there is "fearmongering" about the severity of the virus.
The anti-vaccine movement represents a serious public health threat. Because of it, rates of vaccination in children have declined in many US states, and there has been a resurgence of measles in Europe, as well as outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in New York and California.