We live in a world of information overload. Whether from traditional newspapers and round-the-clock news programs, or social media channels, we have access to content 24/7. However, much of the information we consume can be misinformation.
One area that continues to be surrounded by misinformation is the importance of immunizations. Despite decades of evidence-backed scientific studies that prove that vaccines are safe and necessary, many people choose to believe vaccine myths over scientific facts.
Why get vaccinated? Let’s set the record straight:
Vaccine Myth 1: Vaccines Cause Autism
In 1997, Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon, published a study suggesting that the MMR vaccine was increasing autism in British children. It was discovered that Wakefield had many ethical violations and undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and the study itself was found to have numerous procedural errors. Wakefield lost his medical license, and the study has been discredited.
FACT: Vaccines do not cause autism. Many major studies have been conducted to try to find a connection between vaccines and autism, yet, none of them have found a link. However, there have been numerous studies that have shown the symptoms of autism developing in children before they received the MMR vaccine.
Vaccine Myth 2: Vaccines Have a High Level of Toxins
While some vaccines contain a trace amount of mercury, formaldehyde, or aluminum, there is no scientific evidence that low levels of these are harmful. And according to the CDC and the FDA, our bodies’ metabolic systems produce more formaldehyde than what can be found in any vaccine.
FACT: Trace amounts of chemicals are added to vaccines to: stimulate a better response, prevent the growth of bacteria while vaccines are being stored, and prevent contamination. However, the amount contained in any vaccine is minute and do not cause any harm.
Vaccine Myth 3: Vaccines Infect You with Disease
While a small percentage of vaccines can cause mild symptoms to occur, these symptoms are not the emergence of the disease being vaccinated against but rather the body’s immune systems response to the disease itself.
Vaccine Myth 4: The Risks of Getting Sick are too Low to Bother with Vaccines
Deadly diseases that seem to be non-existent are very much still in existence. Despite false claims, there has never been credible evidence linking vaccines to dangerous health conditions, severe side effects, or allergic reactions.
FACT: Many vaccine-preventable diseases may seem to be non-existent; however, outbreaks have only been kept at bay because of increased worldwide immunizations. But, when immunization rates drop, outbreaks spread quickly. We cannot rely on others to stop the spread of disease; everyone who can be vaccinated must be vaccinated.
Vaccine Myth 5: Proper Hygiene and Modern Sanitation are as Effective as Vaccines
Despite cleaner and more sanitary environments, vaccine-preventable diseases will continue to spread if people are not immunized.
FACT: Studies have shown that while better sanitation and nutrition with modern treatments and antibiotics have increased survival rates among sick individuals, vaccines are responsible for the decrease in outbreaks of disease.
Facts are facts, and the fact is the best way to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases is through widespread immunization.