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Annals of Bone-Headed Science Communication

By Keith Kloor
Aug 6, 2014 9:07 PMNov 20, 2019 3:09 AM


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A liberal publication (which I like and read) has a message for vaccine-hesitant parents.

Vaccinate your kids, you ignorant whack jobs http://t.co/ngmTIZWAxppic.twitter.com/TiBXz99Vxi — Mother Jones (@MotherJones) August 6, 2014

Alas, this is an incredibly ignorant and counterproductive thing to say. Whoever is running MoJo's social media operation needs to get familiar with the latest science communication research on vaccine messaging. A good place to start is this nice overview at DoubleXScience. Here's an excerpt:

It may sound obvious, but the simplest ways to increase vaccination rates are to first make vaccinations more available and accessible, and second, give doctors better tools to “win over” parents who are undecided about vaccines.

I'm still feeling my way on how best to dialogue with people who I think have misguided concerns about vaccines and GMOs, among other issues. But I have figured out (the hard way) that calling someone an ignorant whack job has not been a very smart or persuasive way to communicate. Additional reading: Please see a a related post I wrote earlier in the year entitled, "How to talk to Vaccine-Hesitant Parents."

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