A Brief History of Anti-vaccination Movements

  • Andrea Grignolio


The story of the anti-vaccination movements, which have opposed vaccinations for health, religious and political reasons, is a story that is as old as the very practice of inoculating smallpox (Moulin 1996). In this long story, however, there has not been a single case where the movements have raised fears that the scientific community has deemed as having any grounds. However, they have at times reached results both in a legal context, obtaining in some cases exemption from compulsory vaccinations, and in the context of the pharmaceutical production. In one case, they succeeded having a preservative, unjustly deemed toxic, eliminated. Similar results, as will be seen, represent an apparent victory because they have not given any effective advantage to the anti-vaccination movements and, most importantly, at times they have even decreased herd immunity by causing new outbreaks of epidemics.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Grignolio
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit and Museum of History of Medicine, Department of Experimental MedicineSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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