The Atlantic

How to Talk to an Anti-vax Relative

The question of whether vaccinations should be a duty or a choice is dividing families.
Source: Flying Colours / Getty

Colleen Brown of Cleveland, Ohio, has been known to post on Facebook now and again about the dangers of not vaccinating kids—local news stories about schools closing because a student has been exposed to the measles, she says, that kind of thing. A few years back, she remembers, she shared an article on her Facebook page about a 2015 measles outbreak that originated at Disneyland and resulted in 125 new cases of the measles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20 percent of the patients treated in that particular outbreak were eligible for immunization but were unvaccinated “because of personal beliefs.” Sharing the story on Facebook resulted in one of the bigger disagreements Brown, 21, has had about vaccines with her sister, Colette Carroll, who lives a short drive away, in a suburb of Toledo. Carroll’s two daughters—Brown’s nieces—are unvaccinated.

The two sisters didn’t talk

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