There is an increasing anti-vaxxing movement across the developed world. I’m sure you have heard the arguments against vaccinating children and many of you would have dismissed them out of hand. There are however some people who passionately believe in not immunising children. This article is not aimed at bashing those people but just attempting to debunk some of their reasoning.
Don’t vaccines contain toxins?
Anti-vaxxers will point out that vaccines contain the likes of MSG, aluminium, anti-freeze, lead, mercury etc. All of which can indeed be toxic to the body. But then so can anything given the right dosage. Even stuff like water can poison you. The reason these chemicals are put in is that they have a positive effect on the way that the vaccine works. Let’s look at Aluminium for instance. The amount in a typical vaccine is 0.125mg in a typical day we consume 30-50mg of this in our food and drink alone!
Natural is better
It is true that we do have an immune system and thanks to breastfeeding and genetics a child is blessed with immunity to a whole host of nasty bugs. Vaccines are designed to target the ones that there is no immunity for or that are considered serious enough. Conditions that cause blindness and permanent disabilities, diseases that can cause death, or diseases that are massively infectious. The decision to vaccinate against something is not taken lightly.
Don’t they cause allergies?
This one has been doing the rounds since the mid-nineties. Some people believed that there was a link between food allergies and vaccinations. A study of more than 2000 showed that if anything vaccinations seem to have a positive effect on our bodies response to allergens.
The diseases they cause aren’t that bad
It is often cited that Measles isn’t particularly bad. Which may be true if you are an adult in perfect health. Not so much if you are a fragile senior citizen. It can be fatal in rare cases and that is far more common among the vulnerable groups. Plus it can cause pregnant women to miscarry. Mumps may not be “that bad” but it can lead to meningitis. Rubella is terrible if you are carrying a child as it can lead to losing the baby or it being born blind, deaf or with other complications.
But don’t they cause autism?
No. They don’t. The reason that people claim they do is due to a highly contentious study carried out on a small group of people. 10 of the 13 authors of the paper have rebuked its findings. It has been discredited by more than 25 studies since. For all the conspiracy theorists who believe this is just people covering up the truth, ask yourself this question, would you rather your child be autistic or blind?
It should be a personal choice
In Australia, the government has introduced penalties for people who refuse vaccines. Unfortunately, an anti-vaxxers choice to not immunise their children has a knock on effect. There is a phenomenon known as “herd immunity” where the more vaccinated people there are the harder it is for viruses to thrive and develop. This is how the US was able to effectively eradicate Smallpox with aggressive vaccinations. Not vaccinating your child could have a big effect on someone else especially if they have a weak immune system.
But isn’t just a con to make “big pharma” money?
Yes, pharmaceutical companies do make money off of vaccines. But the time/effort/money that goes into producing them is also extensive. It can take anywhere between 10-25 years for a vaccine to be approved and even then they can get shelved leading to a crazy amount of money being wasted. The vaccines also help the economies of nations that use them as it is shown there is a massive net saving on medical costs where viruses do not need treatment.