There are cultish aspects to the antivax movement. They include charismatic leaders given a near god-like status (Andrew Wakefield), programmed beliefs that have little to nothing in common with reality, extreme suspicion and fear of contradictory ideas and shunning of renegades.
"One American mother, a member of Facebook groups such as “Great Mothers Questioning Vaccines”, was eventually convinced that she had been misguided in not vaccinating her two daughters. But Megan Sandlin recalls that she lost more than 50 friends within a fortnight of “coming out” about her new pro-vaccination status on Facebook.
“People who had cheered me on and supported me through my home birth, who had told me countless times that I was an awesome mother and an inspiration, just dropped me like we’d never been friends at all,” Sandlin wrote in a post titled “Leaving the Anti-Vaccine Movement” on the Voices for Vaccines website.
Sandlin was removed from groups, blocked by strangers, accused of being brainwashed and warned that her daughters would get autism now that they’d been vaccinated. “It hurt,” she wrote. “I now view the anti-vaccine movement as a sort of cult, where any sort of questioning gets you kicked out.”
Closer to home, parents who live in known anti-vaccine cluster areas are so fearful of the wrath of their community they won’t say whether their kids are immunised or not."