Social media posts about West Virginia bill promote false claims about vaccine safety and effectiveness

West Virginia’s legislature advanced a bill that would allow students to forego otherwise mandatory school vaccinations due to their religious beliefs. Some social media posts about the bill express concern about potential disease outbreaks, while others share stories of alleged “vaccine injuries” and falsely claim that vaccines are unsafe and ineffective.

Risk level: High

Recommendation: Social media posts claiming that vaccines are unsafe and ineffective may discourage patients in West Virginia from getting routine vaccinations for their children. Talking points may emphasize that recommended vaccines are safe for children and protect them from serious, preventable illnesses. They also decrease the spread of dangerous and life-threatening diseases. School vaccine requirements are intended to protect the health of individual children and those around them. Research suggests that non-medical vaccine exemptions are linked to lower vaccine coverage and vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. Learn more about recommended vaccines for children from the CDC