In most developed nations across the globe, it is required for infants and certainly adults to be immunized against a variety of diseases. Really – who wants measles? Or how about chicken pox? These vaccinations were created to stem the tide of deaths that occurred throughout history from these diseases. Face it – medical practices from even a century ago were not what they are today in terms of effectiveness and they were certainly more barbaric in some cases.
That said vaccines are not all that they are cracked up to be. Like almost all medical procedures, there are risks involved. According to some people (read Jenny McCarthy), vaccinations can cause autism and other problems. And there are certainly cases where the vaccination has created other medical issues. There is a strong contingent of medical professionals that have supposedly spoken out about the serious hazards to governments around the world – and many of the anti-vaccination groups have said they have done nothing about it and are actively sweeping any health hazard connections under the carpet.
So starting with the misconceptions (of which there are more), here are the Top 10 Risks or so-called “Risks” of Vaccines.
10. Religious beliefs against vaccinations (possible misconception)
Everyone has a right to believe what they believe and if the tenets of their religion prohibit them from potentially life-saving measures, then so be it. Some religions tout that it’s against the will of God, while others object to vaccinations derived from certain animals. One of the earliest incidents of religious objections include a statement from English theologian Rev. Edmund Massey who claimed that disease was sent to Earth from God as an indictment against humans sinning.
9. Improved sanitation better than vaccinations (possible misconception)
There are still many staunch anti-vaccine advocates that contend that improved sanitation and medical practices have much more to do with decreased outbreaks of disease than vaccinations do. While it is hard to debate whether this is the case, improved sanitation and medical practices have certainly helped combat outbreaks. However, it would be hard to conclude that without vaccinations that polio and smallpox would have been nearly eradicated since their introduction. That said there are studies that point toward those third-world countries whose population don’t have near the issues with allergies that most developed countries due (see No. 3) – and those non-industrial countries are certainly not among the most sanitary places in the world.
8. MMR vaccines can cause Autism (possible misconception)
While there is no actual data that says that vaccinations cannot cause autism (through vaccine overload see No. 5), the medical paper that spurred Jenny McCarthy to spout off against vaccinations has been debunked. In 1998, former doctor Andrew Wakefield published a medical paper that claimed that the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine could be linked to autism and bowel disease. About six years later, it was shown to be fraudulent through some investigative journalism, he was stripped of his ability to practice medicine and it was also revealed that he planned on profiting from the MMR vaccine backlash through a business venture. Unfortunately the damage was already done and many parents still refuse to get vaccinations for their children due to the publicity and not being informed.
7. Thiomersal risks (possible misconception)
Thiomersal (or “Thimerosal”), an organomercury, was removed from vaccines in 1998 due to the CDC and American Association of Pediatrics’ precautionary insistence. The chemical compound had been used as a preservative in vaccines against fungus and bacteria since the mid 30s. However after a review of food and drugs with mercury, the CDC and AAP asked for its immediate withdrawal from vaccines. This caused issues, because some parents took this to be the cause of autism and have tried to sue for supposed damages. However, the CDC and AAP were just following the precautionary principle that states that there is no harm in taking caution even if it that caution later on turns out to be unwarranted.
6. Aluminum adjuvants can cause health issues (possible misconception)
Immunologic adjuvants are used to stimulate the immune system. In vaccines, logic would state that this is something that should be done to help their effectiveness. But there is a notion that the aluminum contained in these adjuvants could cause the aluminum-associated lesions that can persist up to eight years as well as redness, itching and low-grade fever. Typically, vaccines containing these adjuvants contain less than most baby formula and none of those symptoms have been linked to vaccines.
5. Vaccine Overload (possible misconception)
There is a belief among some parents that administering multiple vaccinations at once will weaken a child’s immune system to the point of being dangerous to the child’s health. However, over the years the immunological load delivered through vaccinations has decreased drastically despite the increase in the number of vaccines administered. And studies have shown that vaccines do not weaken an immune system. Therefore for vaccinations to possibly overload a child’s system isn’t a valid argument against vaccinations.
4. Prenatal influenza vaccination risks
While most doctors recommend that pregnant women get flu vaccines yearly due to the numerous health benefits, less than a fifth of all pregnant women get the shot. Most of that is likely due to women worried about their babies – as they should be because there is a theoretical link between schizophrenia and maternal immune response activated by virus antigens. That is due to the evidence that links schizophrenia with flu during the first trimester. However, most doctors recommend that the vaccination occur after the first trimester, which should take care of those concerns.
3. Increased allergies & asthma
There have been studies conducted which have linked allergies to vaccinations. The idea is that there is an increased chance of developing allergies and/or asthma after being vaccinated, like with the Pertussis vaccine. A New Zealand study found that children who had been vaccinated against Pertussis have a higher risk for allergies or asthma. Meanwhile, nut allergies may be on the rise due to nuts being part of vaccines as have milk sensitivities due to vaccine development using bovine casein. However, the U.S. Institute of Medicine stated in a 2001 Safety Review Committee that “Methodological weaknesses and inconsistent findings among the studies, however, led the committee to conclude that there is inadequate evidence to either accept or reject a causal relationship between multiple immunizations and increased risk of allergic diseases, particularly asthma.”
2. Brain and neurological disorders
Free radicals typically develop during metabolism of food, while others can develop due to toxin exposure, irradiation and toxic metals. And free radicals destroy just about every part of an organism that they touch as they bounce around your system. So it is a concern to some doctors that they can develop because toxic substances are used to create adjuvants (see No. 6), which upon entry make the body and brain think it’s under attack. This causes the brain to release free radicals to combat the toxins causing damage to the brain. Unfortunately, there’s nothing for those free radicals to fight and over exposure to that release has been hypothesized to cause them to attack the brain cells causing brain damaging disorders. The caveat to this is that most of these issues are raised due to live-virus vaccinations and contaminated vaccinations.
1. Infant Death
A side-note: In my research for this article, I read a lot of articles for and against vaccinations. And most of the anti-vaccination articles, but not all, did not disclose whether a family that had adverse effects had a family history of these issues. To me, that would certainly be an issue if the vaccinations’ side effects are said to cause problems that family history shows to be a problem. Then it would be prudent on the family’s part to take that into consideration when deciding for or against vaccinating their children.