Covid-19 anti-vaxxers use century-old arguments

This cartoon depicts a working-class man being forcibly vaccinated by a health official, while held by a policeman.

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(CNN)As we get closer to an effective vaccine for Covid-19, we should expect to see a renewed push of disinformation and vocal resistance from the anti-vaccination movement.

Over the past year, seemingly endless conspiracy theories and misinformation campaigns have gained traction online amid rising Covid-19 infection rates worldwide.
Looking at the history of these movements can help us understand why they can be so effective at capturing a popular following.
    As a historian of medicine, it has become clear from researching the history of vaccines that those who promote anti-vaccination consistently use a standard set of strategies. Although it can be hard to see patterns of argument in the modern context, looking back at a historical instance of epidemic and misinformation provides a useful case study for revealing today's recurring anti-vaccination strategies.
    One popular pamphlet published in 1885 during the smallpox epidemic in Montreal is a great example. Over a century later, we have the benefit of living in a world that has eradicated smallpox using a vaccine. Yet in the past, smallpox vaccination was hotly contested, despite the evidence in favor of its effectiveness.