Are vaccinations dangerous? For over a decade, online forums have been filled with rumor and suspicions linking dangerous routine vaccinations with life threatening illnesses, including ones like autism and bacterial infections. Some have made the connection between dangerous vaccinations being responsible for spreading the AIDS/HIV virus.
A non-profit for tracking heath care (the National Committee on Quality Assurance by name) reports that numbers of children being immunized has declined within private healthcare plans. As much as a 3.5% drop during 2010 and 2011. For those on Medicaid, the rate of decline is even more dramatic.
Some reports like this are driven by paranoia, conspiracies, online rumors, or celebrity disinformation. There have been parents groups since then, choosing to protect their families against what they consider dangerous routine vaccinations. Their fear is that getting these shots puts their children at greater risk. Instead they choose the philosophical exemptions of opting out from basic immunizations required by the school systems. The idea being they can play it safer if they avoid vaccination shots.
Is there a Government Conspiracy?
Many parents do believe this, based on Internet gossip, rumors, and other nonsense. Attempts to persuade parents of these beliefs usually gets nowhere. Their resistance to logic is so rigid, that any voice of reason is denied immediately. Some parents become misinformed by conspiracy theories and pseudo-scientific literature. These parents will cite so-called facts, anecdotal evidence, and cherry picked statistics, along with confabulations of general truths about basic immunizations in medical science. This will be used to deny any benefits from standard immunization programs.
What can be done? Can better education provide a solution? Or should basic logic, statistical fundamentals, and human error be taught more rigorously in the public school system? Anyone is open to suggest or comment on these possibilities, as no solution has come forward yet.
The Common Myths About Vaccinations
Part of the bigger problem is the lack of education within the system, so that many believe that routine vaccinations are dangerous. These same individuals, if asked about Smallpox, Influenza or Polio, will probably just stare blank at the question. Point out the many studies and research done about chronic illnesses and autism in children, a similar reaction is given.
It is because of the myths perpetuated by the current society. Here is a brief run down of the five most common vaccination myths, as propagated by society and the online world today.
Vaccines Just Don’t Work
This myth is only possibly true, as a result of lower education and general ignorance. A lacking historical perspective also could be to blame. Smallpox alone once had a 30% mortality rate in the 20th century. It was a horrible disease which vaccinations actively eliminated almost completely in modern communities. Another disease vaccinations eliminated is Polio, and it only exists in four countries today. This is a fine example that vaccinations are one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements, along side of other feats like the invention of penicillin.
Vaccinations Are Not 100% Safe
This is true, no vaccine is 100% safe, but neither are many other things in this world. It isn’t totally safe to drive a car, walk down the street, or drink tap water. But the fact is that most vaccines are significantly safer to use, than most activities people engage in on a daily basis. Those who think it better to play it safe, than get routine vaccinations are not just risking their children’s health, but the health of others around them. An estimated 3 million children die annually, due to diseases that could have been prevented with routine vaccinations.
The Vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella Causes Autism
This myths has its origin in a 1998 study that indicated 8 out of 12 children with behavior health issues, could be linked to the MMR vaccine. This research is very poorly conducted science, using a sensational viewpoint in the reporting. The study got lots of attention, but also caused unnecessary panic and vaccination rates dropped in turn. The journal that published this study and its data later retracted the information, and offered evidence that was contrary, but more factual. This myth is completely false by all rational standards.
Young Children Are Given Too Many Vaccinations
A child’s is more able to handle administration of vaccines, than adults if given the same vaccination. The implementation of school immunization programs helps children avoid being challenged by contagious bacteria, food poisoning, chemicals in water, and air borne viruses. Research studies of young children having had vaccinations show that kids could withstand up to 10,000 vaccines in a single time period. Although the CDC recommends a routine vaccination schedule of vaccines for 14 diseases, spread over a 2 year period for a healthy young immune system.
Vaccines Are Not Necessary
While vaccinations succeeded in eradication of Smallpox, in the case of measles, whooping cough, meningitis, polio, and many other diseases, today these still require vaccinations to prevent. Many horrible diseases have been eradicated, but because of some that are not yet eliminated, vaccines get a bad reputation. The only reason why people can opt out for routine vaccinations is because the vast majority of the population has been vaccinated. If a 70% population sample is vaccinated, it becomes very difficult for the other 30% to become compromised. The greater part of the numbers creates a herd like immunity, which protects those insulated from health diseases by being in a protected bubble of safety. But this is not an indication that vaccinations are unnecessary, if anything it indicates the exact opposite to be true.
These myths are perpetuated by modern society, online culture, and general conspiracy theories that get spread as truth. It takes a long time to spread a myth into general belief, and possibly just as long to unlearn it for the general population. Over time with education and word of mouth understanding, perhaps the world will reshape the misinformed people that believe routine vaccinations to be dangerous today.