The west is witnessing a surge in the anti-vaccination communities. This parenting style is not only regression in medicine but also poses a serious threat to the health of children. Post the infamous works of Andrew Wakefield, parents have started boycotting MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccines. As a result, there have been multiple outbreaks of measles in western countries even after the measles virus was considered eliminated.
However, it is the responsibility of health physicians to understand the roots of this parenting style and the concerns of parents who are refusing to get vaccinations for their children and themselves. WHO recognised some common misconceptions against vaccination and logical reasoning to debunk them. Read on
- Vaccines don’t have severe adverse effects
- Diseases can reprise even if they are eliminated
- The immune system is not affected when multiple vaccine shots are given
- Anti-vaccination culture brings in a serious health risk
Due to better sanitation and hygiene, diseases were disappearing even before vaccines
Socio-economic reforms have produced better healthcare facilities over the years. There has been a decrease in child mortality rates, and overall survival rates have increased. Still, this doesn’t mean that vaccinations are not needed.
Diseases can be brought in by travellers and hence can spread. In no time a few cases can quickly transform into thousands of people who are not protected by vaccines. Therefore, it is important to protect ourselves and those around us.
Cutting back vaccines caused whooping cough epidemic in Great Britain in 1978
A decline in cases of measles coincided with the introduction of measles vaccination in 1963. Furthermore, Great Britain decided to cut back Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines in 1974. The result was an epidemic of thousands of cases of whooping cough and 36 deaths by 1978. Better living conditions cannot counter diseases.
Vaccines can cause side effects, illnesses, and even death
Vaccines are mostly safe. Some adverse effects like soreness or mild fever are only temporary. The frequency of occurrence of serious adversities is so low that they cannot be statistically affiliated with vaccines. Moreover, one in a million serious effects cannot debunk the benefits provided by the vaccines to a greater population.
“There is no need for vaccines for diseases which have been virtually eliminated in my country”
Diseases can be brought in by travellers and hence can spread. In no time a few cases can quickly transform into thousands of people who are not protected by vaccines. Therefore, it is important to protect ourselves and those around us. Also, people who are susceptible to diseases can only be protected if the people around them are immune. A vaccination program can only be successful by the cooperation of the population.
Great Britain decided to cut back Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines in 1974. The result was an epidemic of thousands of cases of whooping cough and 36 deaths by 1978. Better living conditions cannot counter diseases.
“Multiple vaccinations can overload a child’s immune system.”
Children are constantly exposed to numerous antigens as they breathe and ingest food every day. Hence, it’s scientifically proven that vaccines can do no harm or overload their immune systems. Researchers are trying to incorporate multiple antigens in a single vaccine. This will provide advantages of all the vaccines in fewer shots.
These myths are common but stand debunked by facts. Today parents who believe in vaccinations are also getting influenced by these negative parenting styles in the west. The results of evading immunizations are massive outbreaks of diseases which once stood eliminated. These outbreaks put national healthcare systems in danger and result in fatalities. Hence, today it is very important that healthcare physicians, researchers and educators emphasise on the importance of vaccines.
Vipashyana Dubey is an intern with SheThePeople.TV