5 Myths About Vaccinations Debunked By Medical Specialists

There is only one recorded instance in which a vaccine was shown to cause disease.

Cover image via The New York Times

Parents who choose not to immunise their children may do so based on false notions.

Here are five myths about vaccinations that have been debunked by medical specialists around the world:

Myth 1: Vaccinations cause autism

"The association of autism with vaccination is one of the biggest myths in medicine," Paediatrician and Neonatologist Dato' Dr Musa Mohd Nordin told SAYS.

The widespread fear that vaccines increase the risk of autism, a developmental disability, originated from a 1997 study published by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield.

His work suggested that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was increasing autism in British children.

The paper has since been discredited due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Wakefield has also been stripped of his medical license.

Image via CDC

Over the years, several studies have reiterated that the MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism or trigger autism in susceptible children.

Recent research also provides evidence that autism develops in utero, well before a baby is born or receives vaccinations.

Myth 2: Vaccine-preventable diseases are not life-threatening

Since vaccines have eliminated and reduced most vaccine-preventable diseases, there have been claims in recent years that these diseases are not life-threatening.

As of 2018, Polio, a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease, was completely eliminated with vaccinations in all countries except for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, World Health Organisation reported.

Image via Naija Agro Net

Other potentially fatal diseases that are preventable with vaccinations include Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Rubella, Measles, Whooping Couch, Rotavirus, and Diphtheria.

Myth 3: Vaccines can infect children with the very diseases they are meant to prevent

While vaccines can cause mild symptoms resembling those of the disease they are protecting against, a common misconception is that these symptoms indicate an infection.

Medical research revealed that there is a one-in-one-million percentage of these symptoms occurring.

Even so, it is likely that the vaccine recipients are simply experiencing a body's immune response to the vaccine, and not the disease itself.

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There is only one recorded instance in which a vaccine was shown to cause disease.

This was the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), which has been largely replaced by an injection that does not contain live viruses.

Myth 4: Infant immune systems cannot handle too many vaccines

Based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time, Public Health reported.

Medical specialists have argued that a baby's immune system could never be overwhelmed because the cells are constantly being replenished, as they are exposed to countless bacteria and viruses on a daily basis.

Image via NRVS

Though there are more vaccinations than ever before, today's vaccines are far more efficient - small children are actually exposed to fewer immunologic components overall than children in past decades.

Myth 5: Natural immunity is better than vaccine-acquired immunity

In some cases, catching a disease, such as measles or chickenpox, results in a stronger immunity to the disease than a vaccination.

However, research shows that the dangers of this approach outweigh the benefits.

Image via Baby Centre

For example, attempting to gain a natural immunity to measles by contracting the disease means a person would face a 1 in 500 chance of death.

In comparison, the number of people who have had severe allergic reactions from an MMR vaccine is less than one-in-one million.

Do you have any doubts about the benefits of vaccinations? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read about the recent cases of deaths due to a lack of immunisation:

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