Political ideology may be of special importance in the case of attitude toward vaccinations. In the United States, Public Health is set up in the way that the power to execute and enforce laws to protect the health of the public is up to the state and local governments as part of their police powers given in the Constitution. Some might propose that because vaccinations have not yet been embraced by a specific or major political party, as opposed to other fiery political issues like abortion, the public should not possess such strong biases or deep opinions about them. Others might suspect that the biases and opinions about vaccines in the U.S. are a result of the relationship between political values and “risks”of modern western medicine. In addition, many believe that conservatives will be less likely to agree with pro-vaccination ideologies, even though some notorious liberals, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have shown their strong opinions against vaccinations.
Although there have been some connections between anti-vaccination biases to some liberal practices, evidence has led to more vaccination skepticism to be among conservatives. Differing views about vaccines come into a disagreement with supporters of vaccines around times of elections because of the political nature of vaccines. For instance, the right to deny any medical practice is something Americans take very seriously, but the general right of the public to be safe from danger overrules an individual's right to deny a medical practice like vaccination. Furthermore, opinions on anti-vaccination have been discussed more publically among conservative leaders. For example, during the race for the 2016 presidential election, there were numerous candidates belonging to the Republican party that disclosed their oppositions and suspicions towards vaccination. Additionally, Donald Trump has used Twitter from as far back as March of 2012 as a platform to discuss his views on the the long debunked linkage between autism and vaccines.
Trump could have motivated a divide in public attitudes about vaccination by bringing this issue into the presidential election. According to ABC News, the former conservative governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, sparked controversy when he called for parents to have a “measure of choice” over whether or not their children get vaccinated. Other conservative politicians like Senator Rand Paul have weighed in on the vaccines debate by saying that he thinks there should be rules for some vaccines, but most vaccinations “ought to be voluntary.” Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders have sided against the anti-vaccination movement, saying that the science is clear and vaccinations are crucial to prevent innocent kids from suffering from completely preventable illnesses. This presents the clear political divide on the anti-vaccination debate, and it can be hypothesized that, “individuals who are more conservative are less likely to vaccinate against preventable diseases than less conservative individuals, individuals with high levels of trust in government medical experts are more likely to express pro-vaccination attitudes against preventable diseases than individuals with low levels of trust, individuals who are more conservative are less likely to trust government medical experts than less conservative individuals, and individuals who are more conservative are less likely to trust primary health care providers than less conservative individuals.”
This shows the clear influence of political ideology on the American people and how it greatly factors their trust on their willingness to vaccinate. Many conservative individuals are more likely to follow the anti-vaccination ideologies of the political powers they follow rather than the evidence-based science behind why vaccinations are actually very safe and do not cause autism. The majority of these conservative politicians have no medical training background and their attitudes against vaccinations are purely opinion-based. In order for change to be made, it is up to these politicians to create bills and pass laws based on facts and evidence-based science rather than their own opinion on the issue.