“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a proverb that aptly describes parents that have been taken in by the woo of the ever-growing menace that is the anti-vaccination movement.
While it is undeniable that they are being rather unwise with how they are spurning decades of medical research and studies for pseudoscientific malarkey, they still ultimately want to do what is best for their children.
However, when ignorance can and has proven responsible for the unnecessary deaths of children, something must be done to stem the ignorance.
If you do love your child, you should vaccinate them because the benefits and protection it affords them far outweighs any risk, as proven by the scientific community.
The doors that are vaccines must remain sealed to prevent the resurgence of deadly diseases such as whooping cough, measles, smallpox and rubella.
There are several arguments frequently made against vaccines, and each and every one of them can be taken down:
1. Vaccines cause autism
The claim that vaccines are the cause of autism in children can be traced back to the retracted Lancet study of the disgraced Andrew Wakefield.
According to the study, it was suggested that the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine caused the malabsorption of nutrients in the gut which consequently resulted in the increased cases of autism in children.
However, it was soon proven that the study was wrecked with severe issues and was in fact, fraudulent; 25 international studies involving large populations also failed to recreate the results of the study.
In addition, 10 of the 13 authors of the discredited study have since retracted their statements.
And from a moral standpoint, as people with autism have pointed out, that even if vaccines do cause autism, it is rather insulting to suggest that death is better than having autism.
2. Vaccines are against one’s religion
This is a rather prominent argument made by the Malaysian chapter of the anti-vaccination movement but a cursory check through the newspapers can prove this wrong with ease.
Malaysian state muftis have already come out in support of vaccinations, saying that vaccines have long been approved as halal and should be distributed to protect the health of the public.
In fact, most religions, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism and Hinduism for example, have nothing to condemn vaccines in general and trying to use religion to prevent your children from getting vaccinated is literally being done in bad faith.
While there has been some concerns among Catholics, the Pontifical Academy of Life has already clarified that children ought to be vaccinated for their own good.
Parents can do so with a “clear conscience” that “the use of such vaccines does not signify some sort of cooperation in voluntary abortion.”
3. Vaccines contain toxins like aluminium and mercury
When trawling through the comment sections of articles about vaccines, it is almost impossible to not find that one (or two or three or a hundred) comments bringing up the presence of mercury or aluminium and other toxins in vaccines.
Ever heard of the phrase, “It’s the dosage that makes the poison”? Because it is quite applicable in this context.
While some mercury-compounds are toxic, thiomersal concentration in vaccines is negligibly low, and thiomersal’s type of mercury compound is more or less benign. Fish oil pills are likelier to contain more mercury than vaccines.
Because of how much public outrage was manufactured with misconceptions, thiomersal has been phased out anyway from most vaccines in developed countries in favour of alternatives.
The argument about aluminium in vaccines is also a little silly when you consider that firstly, nutritional aluminium from spinach and tea is not the same as elemental aluminium found in drink cans, and secondly, that people already ingest more aluminium in their daily meals than they get from a single vaccine.
4. Vaccines are not natural
In one of the strangest of arguments, some anti-vaccination proponents argue that letting a child get naturally infected by diseases is better than vaccinating him. “After all, it’s natural,” they will say.
This logical fallacy is called an appeal to nature which entails when something is expected to be good because it is “natural” or bad because it is “unnatural”.
This belief is a rather misguided one, as nature can produce dangerous substances of its own without any human intervention. For example, some wild mushrooms are poisonous.
Also, it is horrifyingly dangerous to expose your child to active diseases when these are still very capable of crippling or even killing them.
The entire point of vaccines is to safely introduce weakened or inactive disease cells to the body’s immune system and allow the body to learn to fight off any future infections.
5. Vaccines cause complications such as seizures
Interestingly enough, this is a claim that is technically true.
Vaccines trigger immune responses by design, and these responses may potentially cause seizures associated with high body temperatures, also known as febrile seizures.
However, the risk of such a seizure occurring is very low, with only 3% of children getting them and the complications resulting from vaccine-caused seizures are extremely minuscule compared to seizures caused by diseases that vaccines help combat.
A 2019 study also found that seizures from diseases had 20 times the ICU admission rate and were connected with all infant deaths in one study of febrile seizures in children.