Anti-Vaxxers Are Asking People To Stop Calling Them Anti-Vaxxers Because It's "Highly Offensive"

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A group of anti-vaxxers is asking the media to stop referring to them as anti-vaxxers (even though that's literally what they are), and people have been less than enthusiastic in accepting their suggested replacement.

This week, the anti-vaxxer group Crazymothers (no, we're not even remotely kidding) posted the request to their Twitter and Instagram pages. 

"Dear Media," the open letter read. "Please retire the use of the term 'Anti-vaxxer.' It is derogatory, inflammatory, and marginalizes both women and their experiences. It is dismissively simplistic, highly offensive and largely false. We politely request that you refer to us as the Vaccine Risk Aware."

People responding to the group were quick to point out that if they were really aware of the risk of any adverse effects of vaccines, which are mainly minorextremely rare and do not include autism (despite what you may read on that bastion of scientific information [squints] crazymothers.info). Especially when you weigh it up against the risks associated with not getting your child vaccinated, which include your child getting a potentially deadly disease and risking the health of others around them.

An outbreak of measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, has seen 233,337 cases of measles and 4,723 deaths over the past year, with children under the age of five accounting for almost 90 percent of those deaths.

So when Crazymothers asked people to call them "risk aware", people had quite a few suggestions of their own.

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As well as this and the standard variation of the "OK boomer" response...

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... people tried giving them the facts as well (though sometimes admittedly quite aggressively).

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As you'd expect, this hasn't worked. In a follow-up post, the anti-vaxx group dismissed HuffPost coverage of their request as: "Oh snap, I hit a nerve". 

In fact, research has shown that giving facts about the safety of vaccines to anti-vaxxers is (genuinely) as effective in changing their minds as giving them an unrelated statement about bird feeding (used as the control), Science Alert reports.

However, if you still insist on changing minds to save lives, the same 2017 study showed that there is a more effective way, which is to show them photographs of the effects of vaccine-preventable diseases, and a personal account from a mother whose child almost died from measles. Anti-vaxxers showed this was more likely to make think about vaccines in a more positive light afterwards. Another study published earlier this year showed that people who are hesitant about vaccines were more likely to be convinced of their benefits after meeting someone who has suffered from a vaccine-preventable disease.

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