Vaccine-hesitancy and vaccine rejection are huge problems facing global public health today. Diseases which were once considered to be virtually eliminated due to widespread vaccination are returning with a vengeance, as cases of measles, mumps and chickenpox pop up and spread throughout Europe and North America. As herd immunity diminishes, deadly infectious diseases spread more easily among vulnerable human hosts. This is all due to the growing trend of purposefully forgoing routine vaccinations. Anti-vaccine communities have been steadily growing online for years, and now wield a potent influence on social media. Widespread access to social media increases the ease with which misinformation about vaccines can spread and reach new audiences across the globe. In this paper, I will be seeking to answer the question: what is the anti-vaccine movement and how does this movement interact with social media? I will also examine what role identity plays in attracting new believers to the anti-vaccine community, if any.
Vaccine hesitancy, Vaccines, Anti-vaccination movement, Social media