By Stella Rhyne
Vaccines are a useful and effective tool for keeping people safe from life-threatening diseases and illnesses. Thanks to the invention of vaccines for various types of illnesses, nowadays people are able to live longer and feel safer since their overall health is improved. Vaccines are also effective and helpful for reducing the spread and transmission of illnesses and diseases.
Even though vaccines are proven to be effective there are still some myths and never-ending debates such as – are vaccines good for you and your health or not? The opinions are divided on those who believe in the vaccines’ effectiveness and on those who don’t believe and who distrust the vaccines because of the potential risky side effects.
To make things clearer for everyone, let’s take a look at some of the vaccines myths and facts behind them.
Autism and vaccines are linked
Autism spectrum disorder or shorter ASD is a developmental disability that occurs at a young age. This disability is connected to a wide range of challenging conditions which can cause behavioural, cognitive, social and communication difficulties and problems.
The fear of long-term side effects of vaccinated your kids is usually related to the fear that vaccines can cause autism. The root of this fear originates from 1997 when a British surgeon suggested, in a respected medical journal, that MMR vaccine is associated with autism in children in the UK.
Some major studies were run to test this hypothesis, but none of them found a connection between the possible development of autism and any vaccine.
The real causes of autism are still unknown, but some studies have shown that this developmental disability develops during the In utero period. Simply put, there wasn’t and there’s still no evidence that shows the link between vaccination and the cause of autism.
Vaccines are not tested for safety
One of the concerns and myths about vaccines is that they’re not adequately tested for safety, which makes some people distrust its effectiveness.
The truth is that vaccines, like all medicines, must follow and go through all the necessary steps before the World Health Organization approves them for use. Vaccines must show and prove that they’re effective and safe at preventing the illnesses and diseases which they target. This is usually done by comparing the immune system and reactions of people who were given the vaccine with people who were given the injection without the vaccine.
After vaccines are shown effective and safe, they are put in use and they’re being monitored for possible side effects. It’s good to mention that vaccines are one of the most rigorously monitored and regulated medical products worldwide. Vaccines will be approved for use only if they meet the required criteria and standards of safety and quality.
The laboratory where vaccines are manufactured and tested must ensure that vaccine products are stored safely in a vaccine fridge where the temperature is strictly controlled.
Keep in mind that serious and risky side effects are rare, which means that vaccines and vaccinations are shown to be effective and safe.
Most illnesses are not that serious
Another reason why some people don’t vaccinate their kids is that they believe that most illnesses and disease are not that serious. Truth be told, all of the illnesses and diseases for which children are vaccinated are serious because they can lead to serious health complications and problems, or even worse, death.
Measles is a virus, a serious and very contagious respiratory disease which is usually followed with rash and high fever. This disease can lead to serious infections, disability and unfortunately death. The good news is that deaths caused by measles have dropped by 73% which means that vaccination and immunization had a major role in reducing death caused by this disease.
Tetanus is a bacterial infection which can cause muscle spasms. It’s believed that this bacterial infection kills at least 10% of its victims and those who survive it are faced with long-lasting problems with memory, thinking and speech. It’s good to know that this infection doesn’t give you immunity which means if you survive it you can get it again. That’s why the vaccine is needed.
Pertussis is a highly contagious disease also known as ‘whooping cough‘. It’s a respiratory disease which can affect the lungs and throat which makes it difficult to breathe properly. This disease can lead to death, especially young infants who aren’t able to cough forcibly. And in some cases, those babies who survive this respiratory disease will have long-lasting brain damage.
To protect your child from these possible diseases it’s important to make sure the child is vaccinated.
I don’t have to vaccinate my child because others have vaccinated their kids
Herd immunity is an epidemiological concept which refers to indirect protection from various infectious illnesses and diseases that happens when a certain percentage of people (usually 70% to 90%) in a certain area are vaccinated and have become immune to those infectious diseases.
This way, they provide some kind of protection for people who aren’t immune to those diseases so the spread of illnesses and diseases is under control. But, keep in mind that those who are not vaccinated will probably get sick when an outbreak occurs.
Simply put, you can’t rely on your community and people’s immunity to keep your child safe and healthy if the child is not vaccinated.
Also, if most parents have the attitude of not vaccinating their children, the herd immunity won’t make that much sense. This will leave fewer children unvaccinated which will only give an opportunity for diseases to spread more rapidly.
Living in an age where vaccinations are possible for everyone is a fortune. Vaccines are shown to be powerful and successful in keeping people safe and healthy.
One thing is certain – the benefits of vaccines and vaccination outweigh the potential risks and side effects and without vaccination, there would be more illnesses, injuries and deaths. If you’re still not sure whether vaccines are risky or not, make sure you get the accurate information from your health provider or trusted websites.
So, let’s stick to stick to the trusted facts and do what we can to have a healthier and longer lifespan.