Article Text

PDF

Antivaccination activists on the world wide web
  1. P Davies1,
  2. S Chapman1,
  3. J Leask2
  1. 1Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney A27, NSW 2006, Australia
  2. 2Natinal Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
  1. Correspondence to:
    Prof. S Chapman, Department of Public Health, University of Sydney 2006, Australia;
    Simonc{at}health.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

Aims: To determine the likelihood of finding an antivaccination site on the world wide web and to characterise their explicit claims and rhetorical appeals.

Methods: Using “vaccination” and “immunisation”, examining the first 10 sites displayed on seven leading search engines. Detailed examination of content of 100 antivaccination sites found on Google.

Results: 43% of websites were antivaccination (all of the first 10 on Google). Main rhetorical appeals involve themes of the scientific veracity of antivaccination argument; rapport with parents seeking to protect their children from harm; and alleged collusion between doctors, the pharmaceutical industry, and government to deny vaccine harm.

Conclusions: There is a high probability that parents will encounter elaborate antivaccination material on the world wide web. Factual refutational strategies alone are unlikely to counter the highly rhetorical appeals that shape these sites.

  • vaccination
  • immunisation
  • internet
  • world wide web

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Supplementary materials

Footnotes

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

    Linked Articles

    • Atoms
      Harvey Marcovitch