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The New Populism: Anti-vaxxers and the global health crisis


The New Populism: Anti-vaxxers and the global health crisis

Twenty years after the discredited British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield wrongly claimed a link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, his theory has never been more pervasive. The growing anti-vaccine movement, exacerbated by social media and populist political forces is fuelling an epidemic of misinformation and skepticism. The World Health Organisation now declares vaccine hesitancy to be one of the 10 biggest global threats to health.

A recent study by Queen Mary University found a link between the rise of populism and increasing vaccine hesitancy, while a US study found that bots have been skewing online debate and upending consensus about vaccine safety - resulting in Facebook banning anti-vaxx ads. But is that enough?

Who are the anti-vaxxers and why are they fuelling the epidemic? What are the root causes of the issue? In a world resistant to facts, can physicians and public health officials debunk the mythological link between the MMR vaccine and autism?

Our panel, including Dr Jonathan Kennedy, author of the paper linking populism to vaccine hesitancy; and Professor Heidi Larson, director of The Vaccine Confidence Project; with chair Sarah Boseley, health editor for the Guardian, will be in discussion. Further speakers to be announced.

This event is part of a series on The New Populism. Tickets for our 14 May event - A threat to democracy? - are available here.

Running time: 90 minutes, no interval.

Wheelchair users and visitors who require an assistant may bring a companion free of charge. To book a free companion ticket please email Z3VhcmRpYW5saXZlICEgZXZlbnRzIHwgdGhlZ3VhcmRpYW4gISBjb20=

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