People are sharing one woman's story of how she developed a condition after receiving a vaccine, but still urges others to get vaccinated, after a new report found that negative messages about vaccines are rife on social media.
The report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), published yesterday, found that two in five parents are often or sometimes exposed to negative messages about vaccines on social media, with half of parents of children under 5 reporting that they sometimes or often see the same messages.
"With the dawn of social media, information – and misinformation – about vaccines can spread further and faster than ever before and one of the findings of this report is that this may, unfortunately, be advantageous for anti-vaccination groups," Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive of the RSPH, wrote in the report.
"Finding new and innovative ways to counteract ‘fake news’ about vaccines is likely to be a major battle to be fought in the coming years."
A pharmacist told the report's authors that a rumor about the flu vaccine on social media affected the uptake of the vaccine last year.
"I’ve seen the unfortunate impacts of social media – because you get people publicly saying ‘I’ve had a reaction’," added another pharmacist. "There will be people who suffer side effects and unfortunately attention will be on these rare cases rather than the thousands of people who have no side effects."
With measles outbreaks in anti-vaxxer hotspots affecting children as young as 1 and the World Health Organization listing anti-vaxxers as one of the biggest threats to world health, it's hard not to feel like the anti-science anti-vaxxers are winning. Which is why it's refreshing to see positive thoughts about vaccines being shared so widely.
People are once again sharing a Twitter thread from a woman who experienced a one in a million side effect of vaccines herself, but still urges people to get vaccinated because she knows it's the right thing to do.
Tiffany Yonts had the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine when she was 14, and went on to develop an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), an extremely rare side effect of the vaccine.
The condition causes your immune system to attack healthy nerve cells in your peripheral nervous system, which can cause weakness, numbness, tingling, and even paralysis.
Having experienced a negative side effect of a vaccine, you'd be forgiven for being skeptical of vaccinations, but in this glorious thread Tiffany outlines why she isn't, and actively encourages others to get vaccinated.