- Reddit has been flooded with memes making fun of anti-vaxxers over the past couple months of so. (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)
- We see a spike in the number of teens who've been asking on subreddits like /r/legaladvice about getting vaccinated against their parents' wishes (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)
Here's what's happening here: the aforementioned memes from Reddit frequently get posted to other social networks (most notably Instagram), where they're seen by millions of teens. Combined with the huge number of teenagers on Reddit itself, these memes have massive influence and reach.
As an increasing number of unvaccinated teens see these, more and more seek out ways in which they can get vaccinated against their parents' wishes. I'd say that the dark nature of these memes also plays an important role here in conveying the gravity of the situation. Many of these teens seeking help on reddit specifically mention the memes as a reason why they're looking for ways to get vaccinated unbeknownst to their guardians.
This is amazing. This is incredible.
Because although in most places plagued by the anti-vaxx movement it's really hard for teens to get vaccinated, I'd be willing to bet that these teens will be among the first to get vaccinated as soon as they turn 18, and that the number of anti-vaxxers will go down soon.
There have been outbreaks of very preventable diseases like measles in some of the most developed parts of the world recently as a result of anti-vaxx movements. This is terrible. And while it's very hard to change the minds of adult anti-vaxxers, memes, of all things, are playing a major part in ensuring that the younger generation is aware of how ridiculous the whole ordeal is.
This just goes to shows how powerful memes can be in generating awareness and influencing the youth.