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Logo of archdischArchives of Disease in ChildhoodInstructions for authorsCurrent TOC
 
Arch Dis Child. Jul 2002; 87(1): 22–25.
PMCID: PMC1751143
Antivaccination activists on the world wide web
P Davies, S Chapman, and J Leask
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney A27, NSW 2006, Australia.
Aims: To determine the likelihood of finding an antivaccination site on the world wide web and to characterise their explicit claims and rhetorical appeals.
Methods: Using "vaccination" and "immunisation", examining the first 10 sites displayed on seven leading search engines. Detailed examination of content of 100 antivaccination sites found on Google.
Results: 43% of websites were antivaccination (all of the first 10 on Google). Main rhetorical appeals involve themes of the scientific veracity of antivaccination argument; rapport with parents seeking to protect their children from harm; and alleged collusion between doctors, the pharmaceutical industry, and government to deny vaccine harm.
Conclusions: There is a high probability that parents will encounter elaborate antivaccination material on the world wide web. Factual refutational strategies alone are unlikely to counter the highly rhetorical appeals that shape these sites.
Supplementary Material
Articles from Archives of Disease in Childhood are provided here courtesy of
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