We all do what we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We make decisions based on the information available to us and how it pertains to our situations individually. At times, this can lead to having to draw a best-educated guess out of uncertainty. We all have different exposure to medical professionals. With variances in available healthcare and information, deciding on things like vaccines can be a challenge.
Vaccines have had a controversial history. They are both praised for their impact as well as regarded as a threat. Such differences in opinion have fueled mass misinformation as the lines between fact, and opinion can be misty. Now more than ever, it is essential to keep up-to-date on what is true and isn’t.
The Debate on Vaccines
The first vaccination was performed by Dr. Edward Jenner, for smallpox in 1796. It was a celebrated innovation that eradicated much of the disease. Yet despite this, from the very beginning of when vaccination and immunization began, there has been pushback.
For Jenner, it was the unusual prospect of using animals to develop a vaccine. Today, there are still concerns that contribute to the broad debate on whether or not immunization is safe and should be a practice for all people. So much so, there’s an entire movement of people who refuse vaccination, commonly referred to as anti-vaxxers.
While everyone has the right to make choices for their own body, it’s of critical importance that decisions made about immunization are done so with an informed mind. It’s one thing to have a difference in opinion amid the facts, but it’s entirely another to base decisions off of myth or rumor.
The following are some common hesitations belonging to those who are against immunization.
The Side Effects Are Worrisome
Wariness involving the possible side effects of vaccines has come from various circumstances that allude to danger but are not quite spot on. For example, a major association that many have is the impression that vaccinating one’s child may lead to autism. The idea was a product of a 1990’s research endeavor that drew a possible link between autism and the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella.
After some time, the evidence from the research was retracted as fact, which led to more confusion. Over the past 20 years, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been able to confirm that there is no link between autism and vaccinations. However, once fear occurs in populations, it becomes a question as to whether or not more information will develop and displace previously understood facts.
Another concern in the realm of side effects is the possibility that some ingredients may be unsafe. Some ingredients can indeed be harmful to the body in excess. However, it’s also logical to consider that this may be true about anything we put in our bodies. Feared substances used in vaccines include mercury, formaldehyde, and aluminum salts.
Each of these may be harmful to the body if not applied appropriately. However, technology and extensive testing have yielded that these types of ingredients are used sparingly and are not dosed high enough to have a detrimental effect.
Natural Immunity Seems like a Better Deal to Some
The progression of wellness can leave the false impression that natural health is the superior way to go. It’s a debate on its own, but in the scope of vaccines—it may need some further investigation. Prioritizing natural care for your body may be a significant plus. Natural foods and products are typically safe, useful, and beneficial. However, it is not entirely true that one should or can rely on their natural immunity to avoid disease.
While it is possible to develop immunity from coming into contact with pathogens and bacteria that put you at risk, it may not be enough for all life-threatening illnesses. The concern is less in the primary sickness that one may contract, but rather, the effects that may occur in extension. For example, a secondary illness may occur if the body is left to fend it off itself. It may not be that the body cannot fight it off itself in time, but instead that it may take longer and at the risk of developing more serious complications as a result.
Alternatively, some believe that too many shots may weaken the immune system. This is not true. Even the immune system of a healthy baby can withstand several vaccines. Surprisingly, a baby’s immune system comes in contact with approximately 100,000 organisms at a time. Contrary to the fear is the fact that delaying vaccination may put a child in more danger.
Are Vaccines Safe?
Understanding the truth about vaccines is not simple, but with health authorities such as the CDC and The Food and Drug Administration, we can make decisions with a little more ease. There are ongoing lists of information about the safety of vaccines that are subject to constant updates. They have advised that vaccines are generally safe, with the most common direct side effect being soreness at the injection site.
Certain groups of people, such as children and pregnant women who are typically sensitive in what their bodies can handle, are perfectly safe with immunization. Just the same as children, women who are pregnant may risk more in avoiding vaccines than utilizing them.
Vaccines are usually effective. However, note that they are not always 100% effective, and there is always a small chance of risk. Checking with your doctor and keeping up-to-date with information is the best way to make an informed decision.
Who Should Avoid Vaccines?
Some religious affiliations do not condone the use of vaccines, which is, of course, completely valid and should not be challenged. However, it makes sense to consider that the choice to vaccinate is not a decision that affects one person or one family, but humanity’s collective existence.
Genetic factors, such as age or underlying health conditions may affect whether a vaccine is safe for an individual. The guidelines on vaccines and who they pose harm to is a public resource. Medical professionals typically examine these types of factors with great care. However, it is in the best interest of an individual to inform themselves.