The US public health officials and physicians have been combating common myths about vaccines for a long time now. They’ve had mixed success so far, but many people out there believe that vaccines can cause people many health issues, even though numerous studies have already proven otherwise.
The number of people believing that vaccines are harmful is growing, which can be disastrous. Research suggests that falling immunization rates are linked to the resurgence of illnesses that are preventable by vaccines. In 2010, California had 9120 whooping cough cases, which is more than any year since its vaccine was introduced back in the 40s.
Because of this, ten infants died due to being too young to take the vaccine. Hence, the CDC has warned that cases like this will only be more frequent and harder to control if the vaccination rates continue to fall.
Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism
The widespread fear of vaccines increasing the chances of autism when taken by children originated back in a study back in 1997 that Andrew Wakefield published. The article was published in Lancet, a famous medical journal. In that publication, it was shown that vaccines for measles, rubella, and mumps could cause autism, especially in children.
Of course, the paper was thoroughly discredited due to procedural errors, ethical violations, and conflict of interest due to disclosed financial reasons. After having this paper discredited, Andrew Wakefield lost his license, and the paper was retracted from the Lancet.
This sounds outrageous, and it is. In fact, a lot of people still believe that vaccines cause autism, even though there are a lot of studies proving that they don’t. Also, information about vaccines like the measles vaccine stats, HPV vaccine information, and even information about the COVID-19 vaccine is readily available on the internet.
Myth #2: Vaccines Contain Harmful Toxins
It was disclosed long ago that vaccines have formaldehyde, aluminum, and mercury as their components. And it’s also true that these are harmful toxins when taken by humans. While it’s true that some of these toxins are present in vaccines, they are present only in small traces that don’t affect the human body.
In fact, according to the CDC and FDA, formaldehyde is produced by our metabolic systems, and no evidence suggests that low levels of aluminum and mercury can have harmful effects on our bodies.
Myth #3: Better Sanitation and Hygiene Practices are More Responsible for Decreased Infections Rather than Vaccines
While it’s true that better hygiene and sanitation practices can decrease the likelihood of getting infections, vaccines also contribute a lot to this notion. One example of this is the measles infection in the United States. When the first measles vaccine was released in 1963, the infection significantly reduced to around 400,000 cases per year, and hygienic and sanitation practices were not changed.
And while that is the case for our hygienic and sanitation practices, the case of measles continually decreased to 25,000 in 1970. Another excellent example of this is Hib disease. According to data produced by the CDC, the incidence rate of Hib disease went down from 20,000 to 1,500 cases around 1993 when the vaccine arrived.
Myth #4: Natural Immunity is Better
In some cases, acquiring diseases and getting better from it can result in better and stronger immunity than acquiring them from a vaccine. However, the risks of this approach far outweigh its benefits.
For example, if you want to have natural immunity from measles, you’ll have to risk the chance of death which is 1 in 500. On the other hand, the only risk vaccines have to your health is the allergic reactions, and you have a chance of 1 in 1 million.
Myth #5: We Don’t Need any More Vaccines Because Infection Rates are Already Low in the United States
Thanks to herd immunity, the infection rate of vaccinable diseases is close to 0%. With herd immunity, even the unimmunized minority will be protected from these diseases if the majority is vaccinated. This is important because when we say unvaccinated, its demographic are older people, infants, and people with weakened immune systems.
But if people stop taking the necessary vaccines, this herd immunity will get erased. The majority of the population will suffer from the collective danger of diseases that had not appeared when vaccines got introduced.
Vaccines are beneficial when you want to avoid suffering from a vaccinable disease in the future. Many diseases have already been eradicated due to vaccines like polio, tetanus, Hepatitis B, etc. However, many myths and misconceptions are still present to this day, and a lot of people still believe them.
Not only that, but conspiracies linking vaccines and the government are popular nowadays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this, talks about the COVID-19 vaccine started, and the cycle began anew, sparking another debate about vaccines and their supposed “danger.” If the immunization rate continues to fall, COVID-19 might stay for longer, and those eradicated diseases might come back.