By Felicia M.
Vaccines are quite possibly one of the most controversial subjects in society today. It appears that the population is dichotomized between those for and those against vaccinations. Of course, there are both pros and cons to these methods of disease prevention. Many of the most common downsides, however, have been disproved, and yet people are still holding themselves as reasons to not have them or their children vaccinated against life-threatening diseases.
One reason for not vaccinating is that the supposed risk for other diseases and disorders is higher in vaccinated children than in unvaccinated children. From autism to ear infections, many see correlations between health problems and children with vaccines. True, there was a study done in which the published findings stated a link between vaccinations and autism. But as is natural in the scientific community, the process was published along with the findings to provide other scientists with the ability to try and replicate the findings of the experiment. Fourteen different replicas of this study have been performed, and millions of children tested. Not one of these replicas found the same results, and eventually it was admitted that the data in the original study was fabricated. In addition to this, the vaccine most under fire, the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, is first administered in toddlers. These years are the ones where signs of autism start to show and develop. In this case, it would serve well to remember the golden rule of science: correlation does not equal causation. In essence, this means that just because a connection can be found between two statistics, this does not mean one necessarily affects the other.
Vaccines are not perfect. There are cases in which the vaccines do not work in certain people, which means that they are left unprotected from the diseases they think they are immune to. Despite this, 95% of vaccines with weakened viruses are effective, and they don’t put a large strain on children’s immune system. The virus strains contained within these vaccines are very weak and unable to reproduce at a high rate in the body, meaning the the immune system can learn to activate against the disease without the disease infecting the body. Certain vaccines have dead viruses in them, meaning that the virus in the vaccine cannot reproduce, nor can it attack the body of its host. These vaccines have a 75-80% effectivity, so while vaccines are not perfect, they’re very good at their jobs.
Some common side effects of vaccines include fatigue, headaches, swelling or itching at the injection site, dizziness, nausea, fever, or a mild rash. There can be more severe allergic reactions. If someone is having severe symptoms to a vaccine other than the common side effects listed above, seek medical help and report the incident to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) so that the incident can be reported and looked into. I would like to note that severe allergic reactions are very rare.
There are chemicals in vaccines. Many websites use arguments like the presence of metals in vaccines that can negatively affect the body. The detail missing is that to experience these negative side effects, the metals have to be absorbed by the body in high amounts. There are also antifreeze type chemicals in vaccines but these are not the antifreezes found in cars. These antifreezes are used so that the vaccines, which have to be kept cold, don’t solidify. They are not dangerous.
These are some of the most popular arguments against vaccines, but they are all exaggerated if not completely false. While getting vaccines is a personal choice, the benefits far outweigh the downsides, so ensure that you’re making the right decision for you and your environment. Even one person without a vaccine can start and outbreak in a society where most people are vaccinated. Do some personal research before you make a decision, and be sure to cross reference multiple sources. If you do choose to get vaccinated, try your best to stay up to date because even a small window of time can leave you exposed to dangerous diseases that you’re probably not interested in getting. Remember that vaccines are tested many times before release for public use, and have to pass many rigorous safety tests, so they will do you no harm, for the most part, and will keep you safe from potentially fatal diseases.