History of the Anti-Vax Movement for the NY Times

Emma Wagner poses for a portrait in her daughter Sophie’s room in Chattanooga, Tenn. Wagner, who initially declined to vaccinate her daughter after her birth, now supports childhood vaccinations.

Like most mothers, Emma Wagner just wanted what was best for her daughter Sophie. After connecting with a Savannah, Ga. pediatrician who was lenient about her daughter’s vaccination schedule and later relying on a support network of other mothers who discouraged it altogether, she chose not to vaccinate Sophie out of fear.

Wagner, who now lives in Chattanooga, has since changed her mind after learning more about vaccines from scientifically valid resources. Sophie has caught up on her vaccination schedule, but nationwide, the anti-vaccine movement maintains a foothold, with most states housing at least one anti-vax organization and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination rates among kindergartners dropping to 94.3 percent nationally, which is below the optimum rate of 95 percent required for herd immunity.

Photographed for the New York Times.

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