Do Skeptics Really Make That Much Of A Difference (NVIC Anti-Vaccine Ad On NYE)?

Infographic from – The Odds A Child Will…

I’m honestly not so sure that they do. Make that much of a difference, I mean.

I honestly don’t think skeptics make that much of a difference when things like the National Vaccine Information Center’s ad running on the ABC Full Circle Screen in Times Square are scheduled and paid for (apparently timed to happen during New Year’s Eve celebrations, when television broadcasting occurs?) Simply because I’m starting to doubt that we have that much of a chance to make a difference in these kinds of cases.

Why? I only have to look at the efforts regarding Woodford Folk Festival and Meryl Dorey. Was it that much of a win to have a lecture turned into “She will now be part of a panel, including an immunologist and a moderator” – and was it the efforts of skeptics that made this happen, despite the story featuring in the Brisbane Times? Or being “Pharyngulated“? Or the Daily Telegraph?

An NVIC PSA that was playing on Delta Airline flights was condemned by the American Academy of Pediatrics as being harmful, unfounded, unscientific and misleading” – and yet still played, right?

I’m now thinking that there has to be more of an effort to connect with health professionals and find out what can be done about these campaigns and anti-vaccination efforts. I’m after more suggestions than just a petition – which, is all well and good and I’ve certainly signed plenty in the past – and right now, I’m honestly at a loss. There’s infographics, like the one I posted by There’s personal accounts that run in the New York Times, like For The Herd’s Sake: Vaccinate. I could point to a dozen great books, websites, news articles… As Matt Lowry writes on JREF – “…it seems we in the skeptical and pro-science community need media connections within the companies which rent out space for these high-profile ads”. Where does one start with that?

Times like these I end up contacting friends who work in the health and medical fields for an interview; since I spent a little time prior to the Christmas break talking to someone who worked specifically with vaccinations, I might try asking them and others: what to do? What to do effectively?

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.