MIT Study: Vaccine Hesitancy Is ‘Highly Informed, Scientifically Literate,’ and ‘Sophisticated’

Sometimes the perception of irrationality is almost accidental, because arguments are usually social interactions, not strictly logical exercises. A vaccine skeptic may brush off a proponent by saying, “It’s approved for emergency use only; it’s not FDA-approved. I don’t think we should require it.” The skeptic is beginning with a fact that’s easily established and shareable. But when pressed, they might reveal that their line of thinking is elsewhere: “There are no long-term studies, and I’m worried about possible long-term effects.” Because the two objections aren’t exactly logically connected, the proponent concludes it is irrationalism all the way down.

But a study done at MIT showed that a substantial portion of public-health skepticism was highly informed, scientifically literate, and sophisticated in the use of data. Skeptics used the same data sets as those with the orthodox views on public health.

Source: MIT Study: Vaccine Hesitancy Is ‘Highly Informed, Scientifically Literate,’ and ‘Sophisticated’

The most recent Kaiser poll helps illustrate that the vaccine hesitant group doesn’t really lean Republican. Just 20% of the group called themselves Republican with an additional 19% being independents who leaned Republican. The clear majority (61%) were not Republicans (41% said they were Democrats or Democratic leaning independents and 20% were either pure independents or undesignated).