Recently, you may have read about Robert F Kennedy Jr’s anti-vaccine views after he was featured on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Robert F Kennedy Jr is a long-time promoter of vaccine misinformation.

A recent report from the MSNBC news network in the United States demonstrates the real-world dangers of vaccine misinformation.

The report examines how the 2019 measles epidemic in Samoa was linked to Robert F Kennedy’s statements on the measles vaccine. Robert F Kennedy Jr’s anti-vaccine group Children’s Health Defense bolstered a local Samoan anti-vaccine movement which had emerged in response to the 2018 deaths of two children after vaccine administration errors. The anti-vaccine movement misrepresented the vaccine itself as the cause of death, leading to a significant decrease in vaccination rates.

Not only did vaccine misinformation contribute to the devastating measles epidemic, but it also overshadowed important discussions relating to vaccine errors.

Nurse and educator Jessica Stokes-Parish has written Vaccine Concerns & SciComm: An Analysis about the scientific community’s reaction to Robert F Kennedy Jr. From a science communications lens, she analyses some common strategies that may be intended to discredit misinformation but fail to engage and educate the general public.