Frequently asked questions and myths about vaccination

Many people have doubts about the safety of vaccinations. That’s why we wrote this article where we’re going to explain all the frequently asked questions and myths about vaccination.

Vaccination, to put it simply, is a “school” or “exercise” for our immune system (IMS). Just as athletes need to exercise their muscles regularly to maintain strength and fitness, so too must each person exercise his or her immune system to prepare defending against potential infections. Exercising the immune system involves exposing the body to weakened or dead forms of microorganisms that will not cause the disease. By introducing a small amount of dead pathogens or fragments of pathogens, we provide a tool on our immune system to build cells called antibodies. The next contact with the pathogen will be ready to defend the organism. It is very important to keep in mind that vaccination actually imitates the natural processes in our body through encountering a specific pathogen, but in a safe and controlled way in order to protect health.

We can say in brief that the essence of vaccination is exposure to a pathogen that is not dangerous to us because it has been stripped of its virulent properties (those that cause the disease). This is how we prepare our immune system for any subsequent contact with that pathogen, but this time with one that has virulent properties. In that way we can’t develop the disease.

Also read: The importance of proper administration of antibiotics

Why are we vaccinated against diseases that are so rare?

Syringes and petri dish on white background

This diseases are rare because of the systematic cleavage of society. The health system continually evaluates the justification for vaccination against a disease. For example, the obligation to vaccinate against tuberculosis is usually abolished when the incidence of tuberculosis in an area falls below the prescribed agreed limit.

Why are we vaccinated against diseases if they are eradicated?

We do not vaccinate against diseases that have been eradicated. Such is the case of smallpox whose last case was recorded in 1977 and was declared eradicated by the WHO in 1980. Today, except in extreme situations, we do not vaccinate against smallpox.

Vaccines weaken the immunity of children.

Myths about vaccination
Pills and baby

Weakening of immunity is one of the common arguments of vaccine opponents. However, this does not hold water. A study published in 2018 examined the correlation between vaccines and infections in children 2 to 4 years old. It was a comparison whether vaccinated children became ill more often than unvaccinated. The result refuted the above correlation.

Vaccination causes autism.

The claim that vaccines cause autism was popularized by Andrew Wakefield with his 1998 research paper. However, shortly thereafter, it was shown that vaccines, especially measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), do not cause autism. Also that the thiomersal preservative in vaccines does not cause autism.

The truth is that Wakefield was in a major financial conflict of interest. He faked information from his work and did unethical interventions to children with autism such as colonoscopy and lumbar puncture. Interestingly, he bought blood samples for £5 from children at his son’s birthday. After a lengthy trial, Wakefield admitted all the charges and in 2010 he was tried at the UK General MedicalCouncil in front of members of the profession. A few days later, his original scientific work was withdrawn, and in the same year he lost his medical license. In addition, hundreds of papers to date refute Wakefield’s claims.

It is better to gain immunity in a natural way than in artificial ones, i.e. by vaccination.

It is true that it is possible to gain immunity against a particular disease after getting the same. However, it is not better than vaccination. There is no case where the consequences of vaccination are worse than the symptoms of the real disease. Furthermore, it is not possible to develop immunity by overcoming certain diseases. One example is tetanus because tetanus toxin is simply not immunogenic enough. On the other hand, the tetanus toxoid found in the vaccine is immunogenic enough to create immunity that usually lasts for decades.

Vaccines contain different toxins.

Myths about vaccination
Glass bottles on shelf

Vaccines simply do not contain toxins. That kind of makes no medical or ethical sense. You can find the complete qualitative and quantitative composition of all vaccines in the drug summary databases.

Most people get sick after being vaccinated.

This statement is not true. It is possible to become ill after vaccination, but this does not mean that the vaccine is the cause of the disease, but that the person has been exposed to the pathogen before developing immunity to the disease against which it is vaccinated. Also, for most vaccines, there is no theoretical likelihood of getting the disease we are vaccinated against. That’s because these vaccines do not contain the causative agent of the disease but only a specific antigen.

Vaccines cause serious side effects, illnesses, long-term adverse effects on our health, and can even lead to death.

It is true that in some cases vaccines can cause serious side effects, such as an anaphylactic reaction. However, the incidence of these side effects is markedly less than the incidence of the same symptoms in the disease of the vaccine. For example, 1-3 people in 1,000 measles patients develop encephalitis, a serious and potentially fatal complication of the disease. On the other hand, only 1 person in a million measles vaccines develops the same side effect.

2in1, 3in1 and other types of combination vaccines are far worse than usual and cause adverse effects on human health.

Combination vaccines are vaccines containing antigens to develop immunity against more than one disease. In most cases, such vaccines are better than a single disease vaccine because they reduce the number of stings and doctor visits, which of course also carries its risks.

Vaccines cause allergies.

Myths about vaccination
Man sneezing

Several large clinical studies have been conducted to determine whether vaccines cause allergies, asthma, atopic dermatitis and similar conditions. None of these studies showed an increased incidence of these diseases in vaccinated children. Indeed, some studies have shown that, for example, asthma is less common in vaccinated children.

The diseases in the vaccines are not at all as dangerous as the story goes. What is the worst that can happen if a person becomes infected with measles? They will get over it.

Even if the disease is not fatal, it is completely unreasonable and unethical for a child to intentionally expose a disease that causes certain symptoms and suffering. However, the diseases we are vaccinated against are not at all harmless. Measles, considered by many to be a childhood ailment, claimed 2.6 million lives in 1980 alone. That number has been reduced to tens of thousands of deaths a year thanks to vaccinations, which is still a devastating statistic. The WHO estimates that more than 20 million lives have been saved in this millennium thanks to measles vaccination. Most vaccinated diseases are even more deadly than measles. For example, the rate of tetanus mortality, even with all modern medical care, is about 10%.

Those who do not want to get vaccinated should not do it. There should be a right to choose.

Vaccination is not just for those who get vaccinated. There are persons in the society who are not allowed to be vaccinated for medical reasons because of their immunocompromise. Such persons are protected by the collective immunity of the society. Also, the health of young children who are not old enough to receive a particular vaccine according to the vaccination calendar depends on their environment. Finally, vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing disease. For this reason, there is a small proportion of vaccine non-reactors in society that we also protect by the collective immunity of society.

Vaccines turn our children into homosexuals.

Two men drinking wine in the vineyard

There is currently no mechanism to alter a person’s sexual orientation on a biological basis. Therefore, this is not possible with vaccines. After all, if this were true, then the proportion of people with a homosexual orientation in the total population would follow trends of refinement. However, the studies we have, say this is not the case.

Many vaccines today, including flu vaccines, contain viruses and bacteria that infected animal tissues and cells. For example dogs, pigs, chickens, cows and calves, eagles, African green monkeys and human fetuses.

Unlike most bacteria, viruses cannot live on non-living or cell-free substrates. For this reason, the viruses grow on cell lines. It is important to emphasize that the cell lines used in the production of the vaccine are not obtained from humans or animals, that is, no one has ever been killed in order for his cells to be used in the production of the vaccine. Viruses obtained in cell lines are collected and further used in the technological process. Therefore, the vaccine does not contain the cell line from which the virus was obtained. Of course, it does not even contain parts of animal organisms so this myths about vaccination do not hold water.

Vaccines do not pass “rigorous safety testing” at all.

Vaccines, like all other medicines, are probably the most tested product of any industry at all. Specifically, to register any drug, there is a need of extensive phases of clinical trials. This often takes years and costs hundreds of millions of dollars. The drug that goes on the market is constantly undergoing quality control, efficiency and safety processes. In addition, scientists are testing vaccines more than other medicines. Due to the extensive production process and quality control and safety, some vaccines can be produced for up to three years, and the smallest batch error is sufficient to destroy the entire batch.

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