Self Expression Magazine

Vaccines 101, Lesson 4: The Dangers Of Vaccines

Posted on the 28 August 2015 by Jhouser123 @jhouser123

We all knew it had to come to this.  It always does when we start talking about things of this nature.  A big controversial topic that has everyone all upset and up in arms, we try to be rational, explain the science, but in the end we succumb to the media hype.  We have to talk about this, because it should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind as they make the decision to vaccinate their children: are vaccines safe?  The answer might surprise you…

The next time you see a child going in for their shots, ask yourself a question: how many vaccines have you received in your lifetime?  The answer is that the average person who ascribes to the suggested guidelines receives at least 44 before the age of 19, and that is if you don’t get the flu vaccine every year.  That is 44 opportunities for things to go horribly, horribly wrong.  That is 44 times when chemicals you have never heard of are being pumped into your body.  But wait.  You are still here aren’t you?

That is because for every 1 million vaccines administered, only 2 people claim injury and only 1 person is found to have actually been injured by the vaccine.  From 2006 to 2014 only 1,876 people have had injuries that justified government compensation due to the administration of a vaccine.  As a comparison, over 3,200 people die in car accidents each day.  The bad reactions to vaccines pose minimal risk to the average individual, and even those who do have some adverse side-effects usually experience mild illness, rash, immune reactions or allergic reactions to vaccine components.

However, the immediate health effects are not what most people have been talking about.  In fact, nearly all the publicity on the danger of vaccines surrounds the suggestion that vaccines can cause autism.  Here are some facts.  In 1998 a paper was published in the medical journal The Lancet by the the former surgeon and medical researcher Andrew Wakefield.  It linked the MMR vaccine to a novel enteric bowel syndrome that he suggested may cause autism, and then the world exploded.  Despite the fact that this paper was later found to be fraudulent, and subsequently redacted from the journal (thus completely discrediting Mr. Wakefield [he was stripped of his medical license, obviously]), and to the rational mind that would seem to be all said and done.  But it wasn’t.

Celebrities jumped on the bandwagon, the media began running the story like crazy, and soon the anti-vaccine movement was born.  Although the discovery that the paper founding the movement was fraudulent should have taken the wind out of their sails, the movement continued to grow on the backs of continually innovative ways of re-branding their message.  Terms like “vaccine overload” were thrown around by several groups, claiming that the immune system of a child is not ready to fight off as many vaccinations as we are giving them.  Common adjuvants (things added to vaccines to increase their effectiveness) were attacked such as thiomersal (an anti-fungal preservative) or aluminum (used to increase the immune response at the site of the injection).

Despite repeated safety studies showing that there is no link between the vaccines or their adjuvants and autism (or any other disorder, for that matter).  However, one study became increasingly controversial in 2014 when it was discovered that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study had omitted data suggesting a large correlation between autism rates and MMR vaccination at a young age.  This sparked another massive media controversy, and currently fuels the debate on vaccine safety.  Luckily I will serve as the voice of reason here for a moment.

Upon re-analysis of the fully released data, one group discovered that there was an over 300% increase in autism rates in African-American children who received the vaccine at a young age.  This was likely a result of the fact that the analysis of the data took into account very small population subsets instead of larger data trends on the whole.  If you analyze just one tiny group of people in a study, it is entirely likely that you will find some form of statistical significance due to low sample sizes, not due to a true effect.  Furthermore, this only effected African-American children, a proposition that carries with it very little biological backing.  Multiple groups have statistically and scientifically debunked these theories and logic and reason have prevailed! Right?

Wrong.  There are still people out there that are refusing to vaccinate their children on the basis that they believe their children are at risk for acquiring autism.  Unfortunately, despite massive research efforts, autism is still not particularly well understood, and the root cause is not known.  Correlations can be drawn between the autism rate and a number of environmental factors, including the number of vaccines a child receives, but that does not prove anything.  I could also negatively correlate autism rates with polar bear populations, but I don’t think declining numbers of arctic predators has anything to do with the prevalence of a developmental disorder.

So no, vaccines are not dangerous.  In fact, they keep us safe.  What is dangerous is misinformation in the hands of ignorant individuals who refuse to believe the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that vaccines are not only safe but have now eradicated many of the crippling diseases of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  Vaccines are preventing the reappearance of these diseases in our population, they are keeping individuals healthy from birth, and they are ensuring that you don’t have to think about polio when you lay your head on your pillow at night.

For the final exam, I want you to write a comment with the following words:

I promise to uphold the suggested vaccination timeline provided by the governing healthcare body in my nation, and to ensure my current or future children will receive their vaccines as suggested by a trained, educated, and licensed physician.

Ensure you sign with your initials and the date, and I will hold you to this, personally.  I don’t know how yet, but I will.

Vaccinate your kids.  Don’t be ignorant.  Trust science.  That is all.

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