In this day and age vaccines have made it to the forefront of conversations everywhere from the dining room table to legislation. Vaccines have recently become one of the most controversial topics in the news. But why? If vaccines are safe and effective, why the controversy?
Here are 4 myths that have made vaccines one of the most controversial topics of our day.
Myth 1: Vaccines are 100% safe
In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled vaccines to be “unavoidably unsafe”. Manufacturers were released from liability for their product through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). VICP was created along with the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS was created as a place where practitioners and patients can report adverse reactions, injuries, and deaths related to vaccination. If a case is submitted to the VICP and meets certain criteria the patients and/or their families could be financially compensated for their injury or death. To date, the VICP has paid out over 4 billion dollars to victims of vaccine injury or death. If vaccines were 100% safe there would be no need for these systems and no money would have been paid out.
Secondly, all vaccines include an insert that is often says that the patient should read it. These inserts include potential side effects, contraindications, warnings, and some information regarding safety. The insert proves that there is not a vaccine that can be completely safe. Some inserts say that the vaccine has not been tested for carcinogenic (cancer-causing) potential and for possible infertility impairment. All inserts contain a list of adverse reactions that were reported after vaccination.
Now let’s take a look at the ingredients.
Here is a list of ingredients in the Tdap booster shot, Boostrix:
Modified Latham medium derived from bovine casein
Fenton medium containing a bovine extract
Modified Stainer-Scholte liquid medium
Polysorbate 80 and formaldehyde have been proven to be toxic to the human body. Some suggest that the small amount that is included in vaccines is inconsequential. However, there has never been any study done on the safety of receiving more than one injection at a time or on any combined effect over a lifetime of receiving these ingredients in injected form. So no study will prove the number, cumulative effects, boosters, and combined toxicity as safe.
Myth 2: I am fine and I had all my shots, so my child will be fine.
Before the National Vaccine Act of 1986 was signed, vaccine manufacturing companies were struggling to stay afloat as legal suits were being brought against them for injuries and deaths their products were causing. At that time, there were only 23 doses of vaccines on the CDC recommended immunization schedule. From the time liability was removed to the current schedule it has grown to 69 doses. The schedule is not the same as it was when parents of today were children. The amount of ingredients is not the same as when they children. To date, no studies have been done to confirm or deny the long term safety of receiving 69 doses of adjuvanted (vaccines that include preservatives and other ingredients besides just the disease) doses.
Myth 3: We must get our vaccines to protect the immunocompromised.
According to the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices), most immunocompromised patients are still recommended to receive most vaccines. For instance, AIDS/HIV is not a contraindication for most vaccines. The only actual contraindication stated by the ACIP is an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine. Therefore, most immunocompromised children and adults are still recommended to receive most vaccines.
Myth 4: Anyone who needs it can easily get a medical exemption.
Some states still allow parents to opt for a vaccine exemption based on medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. However, in recent years many states are now removing exemptions. Currently, over half the states in the United States have removed the philosophical exemption option. 5 states have removed religious rights to vaccine exemptions. Legislation regarding removing exemptions continues to mount in states. As of this date, California has removed all but medical exemptions. Getting a medical exemption has become extremely difficult. The medical boards have severely cracked down on doctors who have issued medical exemptions even if they were in the best interest of their patients. The legislature has imposed the ACIP recommendations given the only way to get medical exemptions and as stated above that only includes severe anaphylactic reaction for most vaccines. Anaphylactic shock to one vaccine does not preclude vaccination with any other vaccine. So, to qualify for a medical exemption to all vaccines one would need to endure an anaphylactic reaction to every vaccine at least once.
In our world of advancing science, powerful government, and information at our fingertips, vaccines have become a controversial topic. However, there is ample evidence about myths are surrounding the most common beliefs about vaccines. These are only 4 of many, many myths that could be explored regarding vaccines.