I think you misplace blame on social media for the drop in routine vaccinations.

Facebook was launched in 2004, Twitter in 2006. RFK Jr published "Deadly Immunity" in Salon and Rolling Stone in 2005. On The Daily Show Jon Stewart favorably interviewed RFK Jr later that year [1]. Joe Rogan launched his podcast the end of 2009. By 2022 Rogan had on some 2,000+ guests before finally interviewing RFK Jr. (I'm going to use RFK Jr as a surrogate for the spread of "disinformation").

All the tools for "mis/dis/mal information" have existed for a generation. Look at the google trend for RFK Jr [2]. Zero interest in him for 16 years following his Daily Show appearance. Clearly the arrival of social media did nothing for his reach.

What did make interest in his ideas explode?

As you said:

"Loss of trust in institutions"

Why does this only get a single sentence when it is the *primary* reason for the drop in routine vaccinations in your piece today?

You have a unique position to help the CDC. If you are truly interested in "righting the ship", there has to be self-reflection and accountability for the many mistakes made the past 3 years.

"The Institutions" were wrong about cloth masks, closing schools, vaccine mandates, and the vaccine making you a "dead end" for the virus [4] - all of which were incorrect ideas spread through social media. I'm not here to debate those points because they should be self-evident at this point.

-No one - republican or democrat - is wearing masks any more despite the high support 3 years ago in the West. (barring small echo chamber pockets on social media claiming to do so)

-Even you have admitted that closing schools was an area you were mistaken.

-Every country rolled back it's vaccine mandate once they became overrun with Covid despite 95% coverage.

-All countries except 4 now only recommend the vaccine to 60-65. This year boosters are at 5% uptake so it can't be just "republicans".

-Countries around the world are throwing away unused doses and cancelling contracts.

-Pfizer stock is at a 7 year low, Moderna back to pre-vaccine price of October 2020.

Again, self evident.

The globe has rejected the Covid vaccine just as fast as it embraced it. And it's not a "chicken or egg" philosophical question how this happened. RFK didn't somehow crack into the mainstream conversation, despite 18 years of trying, on his own - it was the failure of PH which made the public go searching elsewhere for answers, and they stumbled upon him.

Public Health suspended the key ethic of informed consent, convinced over half the world that they should mock, fire, and shun anyone who resisted, and is now left holding the bag" after cases and deaths exploded despite their predictions.

People who took the shot and felt like crap, only to feel like crap again when they got the virus anyway are not being "swayed by misinformation" in now rejecting further shots. They are clearly asking a logical question "If Public Health could be wrong on this, what else were they wrong on?"

That is why routine vaccines dropped. It's not rocket science. This was a self inflicted error by PH which created a chasm in trust. Trust is very hard to reclaim.

When someone wants to regain trust, they begin by acknowledging their mistakes and demonstrate contrition. That is what public health needs to do.

All I see is blame. Blame the republicans. Blame social media. Blame Joe Rogan. Blame Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit because they stopped censoring wrong-think.

Step back for a minute. Our government actually paid comedians and screenwriters [3] to promote a brand new pharma product which didn't do what it was supposed to [4], and lead to some of the most cringeworthy television in history [5], and there is no apology for Colbert's "VaxxScene" dance. He used to be funny. Now look at him. [6]

Do you truly want to help PH regain trust? What would that take? 


[1] This is wild to watch to remember how controversial subjects used to be hashed out:


(someone should archive this video for posterity)

[2] https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=RFK%20Jr&hl=en

[3] https://thepeoplesvoice.tv/bidens-hhs-and-cdc-paid-screen-writers-and-comedians-to-mock-the-unvaccinated/

[4] https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ndHlJkSnQ7wqYxUQROcN6jBY154HZOK4Z8pZATC0DbQ/edit?usp=sharing

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSkFyNVtNh8&t=2s

[6] https://www.thewrap.com/the-late-show-canceled-tuesday-stephen-colbert-has-covid/

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My son's 2nd grade class just had a child return from having chicken pox. How do you not vaccinate against chicken pox? And why would you want to expose your child to that? Plus the risk of shingles later in life? It's unbelievably scary what misinformation is doing.

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Nov 14·edited Nov 14Liked by Katelyn Jetelina

This is not surprising. The messaging from respected and trusted voices has been all over the place the past three years. For people on the fence, I can see why they would fall prey to mis/disinformation.

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Paxlovid rebound occurs 20% of the time, which is about 10x higher than without - see link to US News article below. But the public was told Paxlovid rebounds only happen 2% for a long time despite personal experience contradicting this. When public health officials don’t set the record straight, trust is lost.


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I'm so stunned that over 2x more people in the survey believe Ivermectin treats COVID than in 2021. Speechless, really. What a mountain we have to climb.

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This is such important news to share and get out. It does not help when you have governors and misled state officials who make a law that pediatricians can’t refuse to see patients who are not immunized. I feel so sad that we are going backwards and so far apart! Thank you for sharing and as a teacher I know how important vaccinations are.

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The U.S. becomes dumber by the month. Reliable information is readily available, but too many think they know better than reality and others choose to remain willfully ignorant. People are just plain stupid.

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For some reason when I read the title I thought the article was about a new strategy to get routine vaccines - a drop-in clinic for vaccines, no appointment needed. Sadly it was not a happy story of innovation, but a sad story about the impact of misinformation.

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A wonderful pediatrician serving in the California state legislature has successfully spearheaded a drive to get vaccinations mandated as a requirement for children entering kindergarten. Only medical exceptions are allowed. Opposition was furious and stubborn, but reason prevailed!

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It is not surprising 1 in 8 parents believe there is antifreeze in vaccinations. Perhaps the warning about polyethylene glycol allergy could be better worded to make clear PEG is NOT the same as ethylene glycol. I’ve even seen warnings claiming PEG IS a component of antifreeze.

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What is the story with West Virginia? Looks like success -- how please?

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I would also suspect the rise in homeschooling (for whatever reason) may be contributing to this.

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I'd be appreciative if YLE explain a bit more about "some diseases, like measles, require 95% coverage to maintain herd immunity," or point us to information that explains this? How does that work, eg why some diseases and not others? What does it mean if we don't have "herd immunity?" Is the entire "herd" then at risk to get the disease? Pandemic level spread in the herd? Or just the proportion that's unvaccinated? For example, in the cited Ohio case with the 9th lowest MMR vaccination coverage last year, in the measles outbreak last year 85 children got sick, and 36 were hospitalized. While full protection especially for children would seem to be the best goal, that seems like a very small number, and not "herd level" widespread disease.

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Katelyn, I'm from Montana & am sorry to see it's not included in any of your charts. When Covid first took off, our HHS under Governor Steve Bullock (D) published a very helpful daily log of Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by county. In Nov. 2020, when Bullock was term-limited, Greg Gianforte (R) was elected & introduced sweeping changes that included eliminating virtually all mandatory masking & vaccination, and soon the daily public reports on Covid infections & hospitalization were stopped. Is it safe to assume this lack of data availability has extended to non-Covid information and is why MT isn't included on any of your charts? Is there any other State not included, & for the same reason?

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Our local health care corporations and owners of all major hospitals, MaineHealth and Northern Light, here in Maine (population one point million) that employ almost forty thousand staff between them made the decision early in the Pandemic to require all staff to be vaccinated.

The “we won’t be vaccinated under any conditions” fanatics predicted that they’d lose a massive number of their nursing staff and of course doctors by the dozens. Both MaineHealth and Northern Light put out almost identical press releases late in the Pandemic — MaineHealth wth 26,000 staff had lost less than 50 nursing staff out of some 4,000; Northern Light said they also lost less than 50 from a nursing staff of of nearing 2,500.

In both cases, that included those who quit because they wouldn’t get vaccinated and those who were fired because they wouldn’t get vaccinated. Worth also noting was MaineHealth pointed out that that nursing staff comprised all levels of nursing so it included CNAs to NPs.

I mention that because I was supposed to get a neurological evaluation for the severe head trauma which at that time had occurred two years prior.

(How severe? The cardiac critical care unit had to revive me ten times after emergency services had already revived me once. Don’t come down a set of stairs backwards and hit your left temple. Just don’t.)

They couldn’t do it because too many CNAs who are used as companions to see if we got seizures while staying on the unit on the neurological unit had refused to get vaccinated had quit or been fired. So it didn’t happened. So far we’ve not done it as Lamotragine and several other meds are managing the seizures reasonably well.

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Thanks for this info as always! Somewhat unrelated question (and sorry if this was already mentioned in a previous post of yours) but I have had trouble finding COVID shots for my kids--have you heard about this at all?

Appreciate your post very much have been reading since the early covid days--appreciate you sharing your expertise!

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