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MCO 425: Digital Media Literacy: Blog Assignment.

For this week’s assignment, I am choosing “Vaccine and Autism” as my topic to discuss, as it is timely and relevant. What is Autism? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. Recent estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network found that about 1 in 44 children have been identified with ASD in communities across the United States. CDC is committed to providing essential data on ASD, searching for causes of and factors that increase the risk for ASD, and developing resources that help identify children with ASD as early as possible.

Some people have had concerns that ASD might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD. The National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as Institute of Medicine, reviewed the safety of 8 vaccines to children and adults. The review found that with rare exceptions, these vaccines are very safe. Vaccines does not cause Autism!

Avoiding vaccination exposes the individual and the community to the risk of contracting long-forgotten diseases. The fact that the association between the MMR vaccine and autism persists in the public’s mind despite plenty of scientific evidence to the contrary raises questions about what constitutes evidence, the perception and the communication of evidence, and the relationship between scientists and the public.

The discussion of the merits and shortcomings of evidence in science in general and of evidence-based medicine in particular is beyond the scope of this essay. However, even a superficial perusal reveals that the anti-vaccine movement, like the alternative medicine movement, is walking a thin line between using conventional scientific arguments, albeit flawed, to gain credibility, and rejecting the scientific methodology altogether. Through use of anecdotal cases of immediate or sharp regression into autism after vaccination, or miracle cures after unproven treatments, the anti-vaccine movement personalizes the issue.

The anti-vaccine movement appears to be part of a larger trend of discontent and distrust in the established preeminence of scientific evidence over impressions and opinions. A corollary to the discontent is the democratization of health-related decision making, by which stakeholders have an increasingly stronger voice over experts, as well as the dethroning of the Expert. While democratization of health care decision making is cheered by liberals and conservatives alike, its benefits are still to be proven. Decisions in the area of disease prevention require knowledge of the medical field involved and an understanding of statistics, in the absence of which no amount of communication skills and efforts would do any good.

The persuasion tactics that were used to advance the theory/tactic to inform the general public that the vaccine is safe is by having famous influencers, and celebrities encourage everyone to take the vaccine. A great example of this is famous pop star Ciara being invited by the white house to talk about the vaccine and encourage moms all over the world to get their children vaccinated.

Although there are so many people that are vaccinated already as of today, there are still so many that are not, and refuse to. So, I personally think that that issue has not been resolved.

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