Conspiracy theories abound on the Internet, and a few of these single out immunizations as agents causing harm to children.
As (some of) the diseases they prevent gradually fade from the memory of the general public, their necessity gets called into question.
Do not believe the alarmists. Vaccines are still important and necessary.
Their side effects are real but rare and not what the conspiracy theorists would have you believe.
Much of the current vaccine fear-mongering started with a British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, in the 1990s.
He published a paper in the prestigious British medical journal, “The Lancet,” that postulated a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
It turns out that he tampered with his data in order to try to show this link.
He had secretly patented his own MMR vaccine, so he stood to potentially gain from discrediting the current one.
“The Lancet” formally retracted his paper and he lost his British medical license.
A link between MMR vaccine and autism, after multiple studies and millions of dollars, has since been disproved.
A mercury-containing preservative called thimerosol, now taken out of all vaccines except for one type of injectable flu vaccine, was thought to be a cause of autism by some people.
This was disproved as well.
Autism rates did not decrease once thimerosol was taken out of nearly all immunizations.
Some conspiracy theorists believe that the increased number of immunizations is harming children’s immune systems by bombarding them with too much too soon.
Human children’s immune systems are designed to react to multiple bits of proteins and other substances that infectious agents contain.
These substances are referred to as antigens.
All of the standard immunizations that a baby gets before six months of age have fewer antigens than the 200 in the one dose of smallpox vaccine that we older people received in infancy.
The small amounts of aluminum in vaccines have been a concern for some parents. These amounts are safe.
Some antacids have 1,000 times the amount of aluminum in them that are found in immunizations.
Although vaccines are not completely without risks, these are minimal – despite what you may have read on the Internet or heard on TV.
The diseases that they prevent are still out there.
Vaccines prevent some truly horrible, sometimes deadly diseases.
Vaccines save lives.