Vaccines have found themselves in the news a lot lately, but many people have misconceptions about their safety and effectiveness. Thanks to vaccination, measles was eliminated in the United States by the year 2000. Unfortunately, the disease is back, and many believe anti-vaccination efforts are to blame. In 2018 alone, there were 17 measles outbreaks that affected nearly 400 people in the U.S.In 2019, there have already been 228 measles cases in 12 states throughout the country.
We bring this up because it is just one example of a vaccine-preventable disease that is making a comeback in the U.S. According to experts, one of the main reasons for this is the number of myths surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines. These myths have directly impacted the rising number of disease outbreaks and declining vaccination rates. Furthermore, parents have become increasingly fearful and concerned about vaccinations, choosing not to vaccinate their children as a result. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what should be done. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination schedule for children is certainly intimidating (14 vaccines by the age of 6), it is set that way to protect your children from deadly disease.
Let’s now look at the most common vaccine myths to help you better understand that vaccinations are not the enemy, but rather the hero:
Myth #1: Vaccines can cause autism – One of the most common myths we hear is that vaccines can cause autism. This idea was first introduced in a 1997 study by disgraced former surgeon, Andrew Wakefield. His study claimed common vaccines such as those for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) were linked to an increase in autism in children. It was later discovered he was attempting to patent his own MMR vaccine for personal profit while attempting to discredit current MMR vaccine practices. The Wakefield study has since been discredited by all professional medical institutions due to unethical practices and fabrication of data and Andrew Wakefield was barred from practicing medicine. While the cause of autism is still widely unknown, recent research shows that symptoms of autism show up well before they are vaccinated, and other studies have suggested it develops in utero.
Myth #2: Vaccines are harmful – Many people also believe that vaccines contain harmful ingredients, particularly thimerosal, a mercury containing preservative. There are no reputable scientific studies which link thimerosal and autism or other harmful conditions. However, in 1999 the FDA removed thimerosal from all childhood vaccines as a precaution. Thimerosal is still used in some non-childhood multi-dose vaccines, so if you are concerned about it, simply ask for a non thimerosal containing vaccine.
Myth #3: Natural immunity is safer than vaccine-supported immunity – It is true that natural immunity (which happens when you catch a disease, get sick, and heal naturally) results in a higher immunity to the disease than a vaccination. However, this approach can be very dangerous and is not recommended by most medical professionals. Many diseases such as measles can kill or cause permanent damage before natural immunity is achieved. Vaccines are used to prevent the disease from even occurring.
Myth #4: Vaccines aren’t worth the risk – Although many parents of today are opting to take their chances and leave their child unvaccinated, this is extremely dangerous. A common misconception is that vaccines just aren’t worth the risk, but we have seen zero studies published in support of this. There is no information out there that is in line with the notion that vaccines lead to long-term health problems.
Vaccines were created to protect the human population and keep preventable diseases from taking the lives of millions. We have come a long way over the last several decades, but now anti-vaccine efforts are resulting in deadly diseases making a comeback. To learn more about the importance of vaccines, please contact Urgentology Care today.
Important: If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Room. Information in this site is not intended to be used as a diagnosis for your symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention or visit Urgentology Care.