Breaking news! Pfizer announced a 90% efficient vaccine against Covid-19. We expect that launching this vaccine reignites controversial conversations around vaccination. Why is the conversation increasingly polarising? We talked to anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers to understand their perspective. What surprised us the most is what appears as a paradox: pro- and anti-vaxxers are more alike than we thought.

We spoke to 23 people, both for and against vaccines, and touched all continents and all generations. Listening to different opinions, feeling how they feel to get to an understanding of what drives their point of view. People are passionately divided in what seems an impossible dialogue, full of misunderstanding, anger and fear. Anti-vaxxers are easily perceived as detached from society and reality. Neither side feels they are being heard. We will explain how we came to meaningful conversations next week.

Here first some surprising observations that we did: 4 shared beliefs of anti-vaxxers and pro- vaxxers.shared desire for a harmonious world

  • Pro-vaxxers think anti-vaxxers have a predilection for conspiracy thinking and government mistrust. They want to destroy society.
  • Anti-vaxxers think pro-vaxxers don’t dare to care, are too lazy to challenge the system, and just follow the flow.

However, they actually share the same worries and views on society. We live in a polarized world today where division, chaos and dissension are extreme. Both want a more peaceful, harmonious world. A more just and equal society, where we can be stronger together.

Shared trust in science and medicine.

Pro-vaxxers think anti-vaxxers are utopians, mistrust science and believe pharmaceutical industries want to sell products regardless of harmful consequences.

Anti-vaxxers think pro-vaxxers are misinformed. They lack the ability to discern and don’t question the information they receive.

Surprisingly, in our post-truth world, both sides believe science research is the only way for society to evolve. Though they interpret some of the data differently, both rely on science to inform themselves, protect their body and their children the best way they can. Science drives their decision making.

Shared care and love for nature and body

Anti-vaxxers believe pro-vaxxers rely too much on modern chemical treatments on health issues, forgetting about the body’s own healing mechanisms.

Pro-vaxxers believe anti-vaxxers see their body as a holy temple they only treat with natural products.

In reality, both believe the body and health wellbeing are crucial. Love for nature and a proper wellness routine is needed everyday to take care of it. Both adopt things like: spiritual practices, mental and emotional health, integrating exercise, healthy eating habits in their routines.

Shared desire to evolve the vaccination system

Anti-vaxxers believe vaccines are harmful with dangerous side effects. Current information does not provide enough space for discussion, information exchange or questions.

Pro-vaxxers believe vaccination should be mandatory for everyone, that it is a symbol of a healthy civilization. This means we should all give full compliance and support to build a resilient world for the next generation.

You may be surprised to find out that both pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers want to evolve the vaccination system. Pro-vaxxers believe one size does not fit all; they rather wish for more freedom and more room for an exchange of views and customized solutions based on personal profiles.

Anti-vaxxers wish to improve the system, to be given more freedom to discuss, and more transparency regarding side effects. Those are the starting points for them to re-evaluate vaccination and rethink their decisions.

So how does this make you feel? Anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers sharing beliefs. It is almost mind-blowing, right? It was for sure for us the case. Anti-vaxxers are not detached and rejectors of science. They actually want to use science to better the vaccination program and to better society. We realized that with empathy we could stop polarising conversations and find a shared way forward.

 

By: Jasmine, Moniek and Mai