Case study: The Vaccination Problem
Vaccination is a topic of paramount social importance. We live longer and healthier lives, and medical research and innovation have been a driver for this for many years. Vaccination is one of the most important pillars of public health, but they also raise a lot of concern. In many countries some vaccines are mandatory. Where is the truth? What are the real choices we have - as individuals and as a society? How can we make sure that we have an informed opinion on this topic?
Recommended for: high school students, university students, adults
Tags: vaccines, healthcare, conspiracy theories, disinformation, eradicated diseases, herd immunity, religious beliefs
Building block 1. Vaccines content
A great part of the debate around vaccines and vaccination is centered around fears about the composition of the vaccines. This building block presents information on both sides of the debate in the context of misrepresentation of facts, disinformation and manipulation techniques.
1. A short list of vaccine components
https://vaccine-safety-training.org/vaccine-components.html [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
2. Detailed list and descriptions of all possible vaccine ingredients
http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/vaccine-ingredients [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
3. Comparison between some toxic vaccine components and the levels we would normally get from food, etc.
https://theconversation.com/toxins-in-vaccines-a-potentially-deadly-misunderstanding-11010 [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
4. Alfie Evans was born perfectly normal, and got his condition at a year old, after receiving six vaccines in one doctor visit. The vaccines triggered an auto immune disorder that caused his immune system to destroy his brain. They are saying he had defective genes which caused him to waste away but that is the unilateral universal excuse fronted for vaccine damage every single time. They always blame it on “defective genes”.
http://tapnewswire.com/2018/04/alfie-killed-on-purpose/ [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
5. Study Shows Aluminium Was Present In Baby Alfie Evans Brain
https://wikipress01.weebly.com/wikipress/study-shows-aluminium-was-present-in-baby-alfie-evans-brain [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
Former Congressman: Vaccines linked to autism (CNN, Anderson Cooper)
The learning outcomes represent the competences which learners are expected to develop as a result of the training intervention:
1. The learner will be able to understand and explain the process of vaccination, its origins and trends.
2. The learner will be able to understand and identify the major ingredients in a vaccine.
3. The learner will be able to understand the concerns and fears of anti-vaxxers about the safety of applying vaccines.
4. The learner will be able to understand that there are public systems in place of oversight, approval, control and safety of vaccines.
5. The learner will be able to differentiate between non-expert and expert competence needed to assess different arguments and claims.
Suggested teaching methods
> Searching for information (and diversify information sources)
> Form opinions and formulate arguments
> Debate (informal) by students from class
> Apply source and fact-checking to a set of resources
Suggested learning activities
> Introduce the two sides of the debate on safety of vaccines ingredients.
> Divide the group in two. Direct both groups to the initial set of materials (#1-5), including the videos. Instruct to compile a list of arguments and facts on vaccine contents safety in support of their position.
> Start a debate. Compare and evaluate the quality and impact of listed arguments. Moderate the debate impartially. Allow equal time for each side. During the debate, allow for search of asdditional arguments online.
> Summarise the debate. Direct attention to fact-checking and source-checking based on the Eggshell model. Each groups checks the resources of their opponents.
> Ask the group to re-evaluate their position and the arguments already used in the debate. Encourage self-reflection with focus on information/disinformation. In full group: enlist, explain, provide example to properties which may indicate disinformation or manipulation.
> Refer to the IO1-C extended content-type matrix and ask the learners to evaluate the possible motivation behind each of the arguments identified earlier.
De Facto pillars
Link to Motivated Cognition: Explain what motivated cognition is and provide examples using the activity just completed (e.g. trusting particular sources, being influenced by...) - list or refer to a list with many possible instances of motivated cognition.
Link to Systemic Causality: Discuss the complex nature of vaccines and the highly-specialised knowledge which is needed to understand how drugs and vaccines work. Ask the learners for their opinion: What is the value of the advice/opinion given by non-experts? Can an ordinary person understand the pharmacological properties of a vaccine? Explain what "anecdotal evidence" means. Explain what "scientifically-proven" means. Ask the learners to compile (as a group) a list of topics from any domain (social, health, politics...) and to suggest, for each topic, the profile of people whom we should trust, and whom we shouldn't.
You have selected a topic from the Disinformation Games area. Please be advised that this area hosts, or links to, resources that contain misinformation or disinformation. The presence of such materials is to assist in developing and sustaining skills for navigating and detecting disinformation. To achieve this goal – and with clear intent – none of the materials are explicitly marked as true or not true.