There isn't any.
I understand that some parents don't vaccinate their children for various reasons pertaining to their child's safety. "Vaccines cause autism. Vaccines have all sorts of random chemicals in them. If your child is going to be vaccinated why will my child be a risk to yours?"
I've heard it all, and all of these statements have continued to live on by a complete lack of knowledge by the public. Here some common myths surrounding vaccines, and why they hold no actual merit:
1. “Vaccines cause autism.”
This is the most overused excuse not to vaccinate, and frankly, it's the one that makes me the most upset. Not only is it completely false, but it is the most horrible excuse to be used.
Even if this was the case (which it's not), would you actually rather have a child contract a horrible disease and possibly die than have a child with autism? I can't wrap my head around this, I just can't. The fact that so many parents would rather put their child's life at risk because they don't want an autistic child is just ludicrous to me. Even if vaccines DID cause autism (again, they don't), a child alive and healthy with autism is far better than a child with a debilitating disease, or worse, dead.
But vaccines don't cause autism. I can't believe this still has to be argued after various studies have proved this statement wrong. Don't believe me? The American Academy of Pediatrics compiled an entire list of studies proving that vaccines do not cause autism.
And the study that first caused this myth by claiming to find a connection between vaccines and autism? Yeah, the scientists in that study were found to have manipulated data and the entire study was retracted by the scientific journal it was published in.
2. “Vaccines contain all sorts of dangerous chemicals.”
This one has stuck around just because of a complete lack of chemistry knowledge. Vaccines are mostly water along with antigens, although they do contain other chemicals in them to help increase their effectiveness.
Some are worried about mercury in vaccines. Some vaccines used to contain thimerosal which breaks down into ethylmercury, which doesn't accumulate in the body and is different from methylmercury which is a toxin. But thimerosal has been removed from all infant vaccines since 2001.
Formaldehyde seems to be another worrisome topic. Higher rates of formaldehyde are produced by our own metabolic systems than are found in vaccines. The levels found in vaccines are so low that they pose no risk to us.
Another is aluminum. We take in about 30-50mg of aluminum today through food or water. Vaccines typically contain about 0.125-0.625mg per dose (about 1% of what our daily intake is).
Yes, of course these can be toxic to us. But it all depends on how much is put into our body. High amounts of these can be toxic to us, but are not in small doses. It's much like carbon dioxide, it's is always present in our atmosphere but at safe levels. Of course if we breathe in too much carbon dioxide, we could get carbon dioxide poisoning. It's all about how much we ingest.
3. “If your child is vaccinated then why does it matter if mine is or not.”
This one is pretty simple, not everyone is eligible. For example, infants don't get their measles vaccine until around 12 months. Vaccines also work better one some people than others, and vaccine protection can decrease over time, a thing called "waning immunity." Some are also allergic to certain vaccinations, and therefore cannot get them.
In all of these cases, by not vaccinating your child you are putting others at risk who don't have the benefit of being vaccinated against dangerous diseases. "Herd immunity" is what keeps dangerous diseases from plaguing our society. If the large part of society that are able to get vaccines do get them, they protect those that aren't able to get vaccinated. If enough people are immune, the disease will not be able to take hold and spread throughout a community.
4. “All these bad diseases have already been eradicated, so what’s the risk?”
While this was once true, unfortunately, it no longer is. Measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chickenpox are all examples of deadly diseases once thought to be eradicated or almost eradicated that are making a comeback today.
And guess what? All of these can be prevented by, you guessed it, vaccinations.
While some of these diseases may not be a serious threat in our country, yet, travel abroad is increasing drastically. If these diseases are common in these other countries that we travel to someone who is not vaccinated could contract the disease, and then bring it back here and potentially cause an outbreak.
5. “I’d rather my child just get natural immunity to these diseases.”
This is just an unsafe route to take. Sure, sometimes catching the disease will create a stronger immunity than vaccines. But this is all circumstantial and not guaranteed.
A couple examples include measles and chickenpox. If someone contracts measles they have a 1 in 500 chance of dying. With chickenpox, 1 in 1,000 children who contract this disease will develop severe pneumonia or a brain infection. Some also develop group A streptococcus (also known as flesh-eating bacteria).
This is a high-risk approach to diseases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention compares this to wearing a seatbelt while in the car: "But you don't wear a seatbelt because you expect to be in a serious accident; you wear it because you want to be protected in the unlikely event that you are. If you're never in an accident, the benefit of wearing a seatbelt might be zero. But if you are, the consequences of not wearing it can be very high.It's the same with vaccines. Your child might never need the protection they offer, but you don't want him to be lacking that protection if he ever does need it."
Don't try and come at me with some bullshit excuse next time you tell me you aren't going to vaccinate your child. I've done my research, I know that the pros far outweigh the cons. I'm not going to change my mind on this. I think not vaccinating your child is irresponsible and are doing nothing but causing future issues for your child and others.
Do yourself, your child, and society a favor. Vaccinate your children.