Anti-Vax Has Become A Dangerously Popular Pseudoscience
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Health and Wellness

Anti-Vax Has Become A Dangerously Popular Pseudoscience

Anti-vax or anti facts?

Anti-Vax Has Become A Dangerously Popular Pseudoscience

In the recent years, pseudoscience has gained popularity in the media. Between fake "detoxifying" diets, to antibiotics causing cancer, to an uncorrelated link between vaccinations and autism, the internet has been seemingly overrun by uneducated people spreading misinformation to people who trust whatever they hear on the internet. This is causing a multitude of problems, but the biggest problem that is still growing in size are the anti-vaxxers.

Many famous people, such as Kat Von D, Jim Carrey, and Donald Trump, among many others, are fanning the spreading flames of misinformation about vaccinations. The idea of not vaccinating children has been around for years but has gained serious popularity since the controversy in 1998 about a supposed link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease, and autism.

This paper, published in British journal The Lancet, was written by British doctor Andrew Wakefield and stated that the vaccines were not properly tested before being used. However, the entire paper was discredited years later because Wakefield had been found to be funded by the lawyers of parents who were in the midst of lawsuits against vaccine companies. Along with this, the research published within the paper was a small pool of 12 children with autism with no control data to compare the conclusions. The doctor had his license revoked and was erased from the medical register after the UK's General Medical Council found him guilty of abusing autistic children by forcing them to undergo invasive procedures without ethical approval.

There was a 2009 called "Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study" that proved there was no association between the MMR vaccine and autism. Though the research of Andrew Wakefield was proven to be unethical and fraudulent, many people still believe what he said was true.

Anti-vaxxers surround themselves with people of their similar beliefs and refuse to listen to anybody of reason. The truth of the matter is, vaccines are crucial to the health of a population. Herd immunity, or the resistance to a disease within a population due to a large number of individuals being immune, is vital is protecting individuals within a population who are unable to receive vaccines. Newborns, the elderly, and people with autoimmune disorders are unable to get vaccines and therefore rely on herd immunity to stop the spread of contagious diseases. Polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, rotavirus, tetanus, and rubella are a few diseases that used to be extremely common but are now prevented by vaccines. Smallpox, a virus with a mortality rate of around 30%, is now fully eradicated outside of laboratories.

Before 1921, before a vaccine, more than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria before a vaccine. Only two cases have been reported between 2004-2014. Measles vaccines have decreased childhood deaths by 74%. Since the introduction of the meningitis vaccine to Africa in 2010, the disease has been nearly eradicated in the "Meningitis Belt". Vaccinated mothers protect their unborn children from viruses that could cause birth defects. An epidemic of rubella in 1964-65 infected roughly 12.5 million Americans, killed 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages, but since 2012, only 15 rubella cases have been reported. Two out of the three strands of wild polio have been eliminated, India and Southeast Asia have been declared polio-free, and outbreaks that started in 2013-14 have been stopped. Even so, vaccinations are still needed as many viruses have yet to be eradicated. All it takes is a single carrier from a country that is not free of the virus to enter a place where herd immunity thresholds have dropped, and an outbreak is likely to occur.

There have also been several cases that show the importance of vaccines. For example, in 1974, approx. 80% of all Japanese children were getting vaccinated for whooping cough and only 393 cases were reported, with no deaths. However, immunization rates dropped to about 10% and in 1979, more than 13,000 people got infected with 41 reported deaths. When routine vaccinations started again, the number of cases dropped. In January 2008, an outbreak of measles in San Diego resulted in 48 children being quarantined due to being unable to rely on herd immunity. In 2011, 49 states did not meet the herd immunity threshold for whooping cough, resulting in an outbreak in 2012 that affected 42,000 people, which has been the biggest outbreak since 1955. There are many more cases of outbreaks due to a drop in vaccine rates, which you can read about here and here.

All of this evidence isn't to say that every person needs to get vaccinated. There are sometimes, though rarely, adverse effects of vaccines on people. Anaphylactic shock can occur in some people, though it happens to about one in every one million doses. This occurs due to the receiver having an allergic reaction to something in the immunization. People with weakened immune systems, such as people with autoimmune diseases, can get an infection or react poorly to a vaccine due to their body not being able to fight off the invading virus cells. These people are the ones that rely on herd immunity for protection. Anti-vaxxers also say there are harmful amounts of toxins such as mercury and formaldehyde, which has all been disproven and can be read about here.

In conclusion, anti-vaxxers are basing all of their beliefs on a pseudoscience that has been disproven time and time again. They are exposing their children to direct harm by allowing them to be open to attack by deadly diseases, and exposing innocent people who are physically unable to get vaccines to these dangers as well. So, anti-vaxxers, if you are reading this, please do your research and don't expose innocent people to these dangers because you refuse to do valid research.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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