By Leslie Rosenblood

Vaccinations are one of humanity’s greatest medical innovations, saving over ten million lives since 2010 alone. Given their decades long track record of preventing illness in billions, why are so many skeptical about their safety and efficacy?

Ten years ago, I made what I thought was an innocuous Facebook post that linked to this brief Penn & Teller video. I did not realize at the time that there was an anti-vaccination movement, and one of its members engaged me in a months-long debate in the comments (and then over email). I started my blog, Opinions and Questions, in the hopes that my review of a particularly dishonest book about vaccines would reach a wider audience.

As a result, I learned a tremendous amount about anti-vaxxers, their arguments, and why they hold these beliefs. In my talk, I will distinguish the denialists from the vaccine-hesitant, provide some dos and don’ts on how to engage (should you choose to do so), and what the results were of my online debate about vaccines. I will also delve into human psychology and cognitive biases, how to distinguish between objective information and propaganda trying to masquerade as such, some considerations about a potential vaccine for COVID-19, and what you can do to educate those in your social circle (in real life or online) on this topic (and many others).

I have been a volunteer for CFIC almost since its inception and am proud to serve on the Board as its treasurer. I hope you will join me on August 20, at 7PM EST, for my first virtual public presentation. Please register on Meetup.