Anti-Vaxxers Ask To ‘Retire’ Term ‘Anti-Vaxxer’ in Favor of Something Less ‘Derogatory’


Child receiving vaccination

A new point of contention is heating up in the vaccination debate -- and no, it has nothing to do with the measles outbreak that's still going strong in parts of the US. Apparently, anti-vaxxers no longer want to be called anti-vaxxers. (Yes, you read that right.) In fact, one of the nation's largest anti-vaccination movements, which calls itself Crazy Mothers, has recently issued a statement about the matter on Instagram, asking the public to “please retire the use of the term ‘Anti-vaxxer.'” To which many on the Internet simultaneously replied, "Uh ... come again?"

  • The statement, which was shared on Instagram Monday, was addressed to the media at large.

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    Enough is enough. * * * #crazymotherscommunity #dearmedia

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    "[The term anti-vaxxer] is derogatory, inflammatory, and marginalizes both women and their experiences," the message continued. "It is dismissively simplistic, highly offensive, and largely false."

    So what would they like to be called?

    "We politely request that you refer to us as the Vaccine Risk Aware," the group clarified, before issuing a note of thanks.

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  • Many of the group's followers instantly cheered the statement, agreeing that they've long-since loathed the term "anti-vaxxer."

    "Thank you that is excellent," wrote one user. "I sometimes found myself referring to myself that way and you're right it is all the things you stated."

    "Yesss as that term makes my blood boil," wrote another. "Thank you!"

    The post, which has racked up more than 1,200 likes to date, has elicited a bevy of positive comments from users who've felt a "rebranding" has been a long time coming.

    "We are the EDUCATED EX-VaXXers!!" one woman claimed. "Most of us experienced INJURY or DEATH!! Listen to us!!!"

  • But on Twitter, a different chorus of voices started coming through -- from pro-vaccine advocates who responded with a resounding "WUT?"

    “'Aware' lmao they ain’t aware of anything," one person quipped in response to the group's tweet.

    "Yes please treat our group 'Crazy insane crazy mothers, crazy people who are crazy' with the dignity and respect we deserve," another added.

  • Others came out swinging, offering up other new terms the group could potentially call themselves.

    "Sure thing anti-vaxxer," one person tweeted. "But sometimes I’ll switch it up with pro-dead kids just to keep things interesting."

    "Would Pro-diptheria be better?" another person asked. "Maybe 'All for 50 dead people in Samoa' has a better ring."

    "FINE," added another. “'Bioterrorist' it is, then."

    "How about Pro-Plague?" someone else tweeted. "I like that better."

  • But then there were those who just came to dish straight facts.

    "Immunologist here," one person slammed. "The answer is: NO You are not 'Vaccine Risk Aware,' you are 'Dangerously uninformed and insisting that public health experts indulge your fantasies.' 

    "If you don't want [to be called] anti-vaxx," the person continued, "the only thing left is Self-Indulgent And Irresponsible Crazy Person ... Pick one."

  • In truth, arguing semantics here kind of misses the point. 

    Although groups like Crazy Mothers often advocate for more research to be done on the risks of vaccine injury and its effectiveness, health experts argue that the research has been done -- and the science is clear: Vaccines are both safe and effective. Spreading anti-vaxx "awareness" and misinformation has only added to the groundswell of fear and misconceptions surrounding various vaccines, which took decades to develop and are working.

    “We cannot say this enough: Vaccines are a safe and highly effective public health tool that can prevent this disease and end the current outbreak,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement in June. 

  • Vaccines have helped prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children in the last 20 years alone, notes the Centers for Diesease Control and Prevention.

    And yet, the anti-vaxx movement -- whether or not it likes this name -- has cast significant doubt in the minds of millions of parents ever since Andrew Wakefield's now-debunked study linked vaccines to autism in 1998. Since then,18 different studies have proven there is no credible link between autism and immunizations, and yet vaccine hesitancy continues to grow. So much so, that the World Health Organization even named it one of the top 10 global health threats of 2019.

    As a result, the US was nearly on the brink of losing its measles elimination status in the last year, after several outbreaks threatened pockets of New York, California, and other states.

    “The measles vaccine is among the most-studied medical products we have and is given safely to millions of children and adults each year," Azar reassured Americans earlier this year in the midst of the crisis. "Measles is an incredibly contagious and dangerous disease. I encourage all Americans to talk to your doctor about what vaccines are recommended to protect you, your family, and your community from measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.”

    As for whether the media will heed the request of Crazy Mothers, we're going to take a wild guess here and predict the answer to that one will be a big fat nope.