Work and World

Debunking Anti-Vaxxers

The number of people that are against vaccinating themselves and their children has surged in recent years, and it can be frustrating listening to their claims. So we wanted to debunk and deconstruct the most common arguments one by one to help you prepare and present the facts in your next encounter with an anti-vaxxer. Argument 1: “Why I Do Not Vaccinate My Kids” Blog Entry 189. Vaccines contain: MSG, antifreeze, phenol, formaldehyde, aluminum, lead, and mercury. It’s true; vaccines contain chemicals. Vaccines have contained mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde. Ingredients that can be toxic; what else can be toxic? Water (given a large enough dose), and same goes for apples, coffee, or too much of anything to be honest. The dose makes the poison, and the doses of the chemicals in vaccines are negligible. For example, vaccines that include aluminum (which is included to make the vaccine more effective), contain about 0.125 milligrams per dose. But the average person actually takes in an estimated 30-50 milligrams every day through food and drink. That’s way more than one vaccination on a daily basis. And while some people warn about the presence of mercury containing compounds like thimerosal (a vaccine preservative to prevent bacterial growth), it’s actually been removed from almost all childhood vaccines since 2001. This was done to ease public concern, even though no literature suggests it’s harmful at doses present in vaccines. Argument 2: As a granola parent, my kids get everything natural. Quinoa crackers over Ritz any day! Because can’t we just all agree that the natural root is better? So let your child’s immune system develop naturally and save them a lifetime of pain. Vaccines introduce a weakened form of the germ to your body so that the immune system can learn to recognize it. Your body then build its defenses so it’s prepared to fight off a real attack later. And it’s true; naturally newborn babies are immune to several diseases because of the antibodies they receive from their mother’s breast milk and the thousands of germs they’re exposed from the moment they’re born. But vaccines cover the diseases you don’t have immunity against. It’s why we don’t vaccinate for every single disease possible; just those which are most dangerous. And children are given shots at a young age because this is when they’re at the highest risk of getting sick or dying. Argument 3: But what about allergies? My second cousin Lisa got her kids vaccinated, and now, they have a peanut allergy. I don’t my baby to get allergies! In 1997, people began to question whether there was a connect between vaccines and allergies. And then a study of 2,100 participants ages 5-6 found that vaccines actually have the opposite effect, and instead have a protective effect against allergies. Argument 4: I mean, how bad are the diseases that these vaccines are preventing anyways? My ol’ sport here, stuffed like a packed sausage. Got my genes, so he’s built to last! If he got the measles, what’s the worst that could happen? Vaccines have done such a good job preventing so many diseases that many generations have never seen them. But here’s what these diseases looked like without vaccines: In 1967 smallpox was responsible for millions of deaths. By 1980 it was completely eradicated due to an intensive vaccine campaign. Before polio vaccine was available, 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported each year in the United States. This meant thousands of children had to use braces, crutches, wheelchairs, and ventilators to breathe. From 1964-1965, before the rubella vaccine, there were 2,100 neonatal deaths and 11,250 miscarriages. And of the 20,000 born with rubella, more than half ended up deaf, over 3,000 blind, and 1,800 with mental delays. As for measles, before immunization was available, nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles because it’s extremely contagious. The World Health Organization estimates that regular vaccination has prevented 20.4 million deaths from measles worldwide from 2010-2016. Argument 5: Okay, but you still haven’t covered– *quietly* Autism. Much of the anti-vaccination movement is linked to one paper published in the late 1990s, which claimed vaccines caused autism. It suggested a link between the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine causing malabsorption of nutrients in the gut, thereby leading to increased cases of autism in children. The study was later proven to be fraudulent and was debunked by 25 international research papers involving large population studies. Furthermore, 10 of the 13 authors of this original paper have now refuted and retracted their original statements on the suggested link. And while it’s understandable that parents want to protect their kids, the claim is not founded in any evidence. Argument 6: There needs to be a balance with the government. Parents should have a measure of choice about whether or not they should vaccinate their kids. No one knows their kid better than you do. So, vaccinating your kid only affects you and your baby. This is simply not the case. Vaccines protect you, and perhaps more importantly, it helps other people. If you’re not sick, you can’t spread the disease to those with weaker immune systems, particularly the very young or elderly, and those who have medical conditions in which they can’t be vaccinated, for example, those undergoing chemotherapy. The more people that are vaccinated, the less available real estate for the germs, meaning its spreading ability is squashed. This principle is called “herd immunity”. For the vulnerable in our society, herd immunity is their best protection. Argument 7: The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, big corporations, big pharma, The amount of drugs they’ve taken off the market trusting those suits is practically a death sentence. Pharmaceutical companies do make money from selling vaccines. One recent estimate puts the vaccine market now at $24 Billion, which is huge. But if you want to talk money, a study found that in the U.S between 1994 and 2013, vaccine created a net savings of two hundred and 95 billion in direct costs and 1.3 8 trillion in societal cost. It’s true, drugs have been pulled from the market after harmful side effects came to light. However, vaccines are among the most highly regulated substances we can put into our bodies, in part because they’re given to help people, usually children as a preventative measure, rather than a treatment. They go through multiple phases of testing to see if they’re safe, to find the correct dose, and to see if protection against the disease actually works. In Canada and and the U.S, it can take 10 to 25 years of testing before a vaccine is approved. And once on the market, there’s continuous monitoring of it’s effects. The likelihood of a severe reaction to the MNR vaccine is approximately 1 into 1 million, which is around ten times less likely than being killed by a lighting strike. Thank you so much to Bill and Melinda Gates for sponsoring today’s episode. This video is meant to highlight the importance of vaccines which save millions of lives every year. Vaccines are a great example of how modern medicine and technology have decreased disease for a while. It’s part of the reason why the number of children who die every year has been cut by half and continues to go down. Though sometimes it’s hard to feel like it, there are many reasons why we should be optimistic about our future. This becomes pretty clear when you focus on the brilliant scientists, dedicated individuals and new ideas that are solving some of the world’s toughest issues. Head to to learn in the annual letter from Bill and Melinda gates why they’re so optimistic about the future. Thanks for watching, and if you haven’t already, go out and get your flu shot, and please, parents please just vaccinate your kids, thanks a lot. and we will see you next week. Bye.
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