an·​ti-vax·​xer ˌan-tē-ˈvak-sər How to pronounce anti-vaxxer (audio)
variants or less commonly antivaxxer or anti-vaxer or antivaxer
plural anti-vaxxers also antivaxxers or anti-vaxers or antivaxers
: a person who opposes the use of some or all vaccines, regulations mandating vaccination, or usually both
Anti-vaxxers, those who refuse to vaccinate, have been around for as long as vaccination.Tim Elliott
Some self-identified anti-vaxxers are vehemently against all vaccines. Some are skeptical of specific vaccines …Kelly McLaughlin and Yelena Dzhanova
He said, while he will not get the COVID-19 vaccine, he is not an "anti-vaxxer" against all vaccinations.Steven Mitchell
… those who are against mandatory vaccinations, known as anti-vaxxersWilliam Keenan
The anti-vaxxers, distrustful of government, see public health regulations as a threat to their rights, including freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and possibly other freedoms …Sue Rickards
often, specifically : a parent who opposes having his or her child vaccinated
Before the 2016-17 school year, parents who opposed vaccination, or anti-vaxxers as they are often called, could enroll their unvaccinated children in school citing the personal belief exemption, based on religious or philosophical convictions, for example. Ana B. Ibarra and Barbara Feder Ostrov
She said she's not a staunch anti-vaxxer and has her two children get routine vaccines except flu shots. Scott Wyland
often used before another noun
anti-vaxxer sentiment anti-vaxxer parents Ironically, probably one reason the anti-vaxxer movement has swayed so many people is because the vaccines for childhood diseases have been so successful. Most of today's parents have never experienced the damage they can do. The San Mateo (California) Daily Journal
Usage of Anti-Vaxxer

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the use of the term anti-vaxxer has both increased and broadened. Anti-vaxxer came to the fore most prominently in the context of childhood immunization, where it is used to refer to someone who opposes the use of vaccines and who is also against policies, laws, etc. requiring vaccination for inclusion in a certain activity (such as attending school).

Senate Bill 54 would allow "anti-vaxxers," parents who decide against vaccinations, to opt out of a registry instead of opting in. Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram
When anti-vaxxers mount massive protests against immunization laws as they did recently in California … Emma Green
In Hollywood, actors including Jim Carrey and Alicia Silverstone came forward as "anti-vaxxers." These individuals claim forcing children to receive immunization violates certain rights. The Southern (Florida Southern College)

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and new regulations concerning vaccination against the disease, anti-vaxxer also began to be used to refer to a person who is specifically against COVID-19 vaccines and regulations requiring vaccination against COVID-19.

Ironically, most of the COVID anti-vaxxers have been vaccinated against most other diseases, from measles to TB to meningitis, which makes their resistance to COVID vaccines all the more baffling. Chris Freind

The term anti-vaxxer is sometimes applied to people who are not against the use of vaccines but who do oppose policies, laws, etc. that require vaccination. People with such views often object to being characterized as anti-vaxxers.

"Saying I'm against coercion or mandates is not the same as (telling people not to be vaccinated). I've had all of my vaccinations and took my daughter to the doctor the other day to get her vaccinations. I'm not an anti-vaxxer." George Christensen, quoted in Mackay (Australia) Daily Mercury Online
The revelations led to suggestions that [Jessica] Biel [actor] herself was an anti-vaxxer, which she denied on Thursday. "I am not against vaccinations—I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians," Biel wrote on Instagram. She added that her concern with the legislation "is solely regarding medical exemptions." Andy Campbell

Word History


anti-vax + -er entry 2

First Known Use

2001, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of anti-vaxxer was in 2001

Dictionary Entries Near anti-vaxxer

Cite this Entry

“Anti-vaxxer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

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