Believe those who are seeking truth. — [shared quotation]
For the first time in over 100 years, measles, mumps, and other dangerous, communicable diseases are on the rise in the United States (World Health Organization, 2017). And social scientists point to the anti-vaccination movement as a primary cause.
For example, the measles (a highly contagious virus that can lead to blindness, inflammation of the brain, and even death) broke out in LA within a social community who refused to vaccinate their children. In fact, in 2015, 95% of all toddlers who contracted the measles were unvaccinated.
However, those opposed to vaccination suggest there are threats to vaccinating children. So what are the concerns?
EXAMINING THE EVIDENCE
Recent research suggests that both those who vaccinate and those who don’t vaccinate are similarly educated. Moreover, both groups spend a similar amount of time searching the Internet for evidence of their vaccination stances.
Those opposed to it claim there are links between vaccinations and negative outcomes like autism and sudden-infant-death syndrome. In order to best assess that, we should look at the data. That is, look at thousands of people and count up the frequency of vaccinations being linked to these negative outcomes.
And they’ve done this. There was no evidence that vaccinations caused the purported illnesses.
In fact, the original (and only) article to “claim” there was a link between these afflictions and vaccination has been retracted forcefully from its medical journal.
As it turned out, the lead researcher had entirely made up the data. He was being paid by a law firm to fabricate these results because the law firm wanted to sue vaccine manufacturers.
But speaking of conspiracy theories…
As many people know, corporations are greedy. And few are greedier than Big Pharma. From the opioid crisis to price hikes on essential medicines, drug manufacturers are known for putting profits first.
So, it may sound reasonable to assert that vaccines are scams by Big Pharam to drive up revenue. All this concern over not vaccinating? That’s just propaganda to keep people buying.
But let’s think about this as a whole.
In order to make a vaccine, it takes 2-4 years of basic laboratory research. This involves hundreds of scientists, research assistants, and lab managers. From there, these vaccines require years of pre-clinical testing, i.e., thousands of trial runs, of new people administering these drugs, of managers and overseers signing off on the results, etc. Then, after it’s been made, it’s repeatedly tested and tested on new people under new scientists who then submit their results to other researchers and scientists who review the results for publications in journals.
If there are really thousands upon thousands of people who have been involved in the production, manufacturing, and sale of vaccines, why haven’t more spoken up? Why hasn’t the consensus of authorities on the topic shifted? Even Big Pharma, with all their money, doesn’t touch everyone. And even the undeniable majority of them support vaccinations, too.
BUT, IT’S NOT NATURAL
Indeed, vaccines are manmade, but there are many manmade things that have great value. And vaccines are one of them. At their heart, vaccines are like training programs for your body’s immune system. The partial and weakened viruses in them teach your white blood cells how to keep guard against those mean diseases if they ever catch you in the wild.
Still, if you have doubts about whether vaccines are beneficial, it is your right to question. I encourage it. In fairness, I think you should put a premium on information that comes from peer-reviewed, scientific evidence. But again, it is your right to question. Unfortunately, from my discussions with those in the anti-vaccine movement, such questioning isn’t always encouraged.
Remember, truth should never be something you need permission for.
Psychophilosophy to Ponder: Here are just some (and I really mean just some) of the peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate no link between vaccines and the reported negative health outcomes:
Black, C., Kaye, J. A., & Jick, H. (2002). Relation of childhood gastrointestinal disorders to autism: nested case-control study using data from the UK General Practice Research Database. Bmj, 325(7361), 419-421.
Taylor, L. E., Swerdfeger, A. L., & Eslick, G. D. (2014). Vaccines are not associated with autism: an evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies. Vaccine, 32(29), 3623-3629.
Madsen, K. M., Hviid, A., Vestergaard, M., Schendel, D., Wohlfahrt, J., Thorsen, P., … & Melbye, M. (2002). A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. New England Journal of Medicine, 347(19), 1477-1482.
Klein, K. C., & Diehl, E. B. (2004). Relationship between MMR vaccine and autism. Annals of pharmacotherapy, 38(7-8), 1297-1300.
Mrozek-Budzyn, D., Kieltyka, A., & Majewska, R. (2010). Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: A case-control study. The Pediatric infectious disease journal, 29(5), 397-400.
Uchiyama, T., Kurosawa, M., & Inaba, Y. (2007). MMR-vaccine and regression in autism spectrum disorders: negative results presented from Japan. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 37(2), 210-217.
DeStefano, F., & Thompson, W. W. (2004). MMR vaccine and autism: an update of the scientific evidence. Expert review of vaccines, 3(1), 19-22.
Fombonne, E., & Chakrabarti, S. (2001). No evidence for a new variant of measles-mumps-rubella–induced autism. Pediatrics, 108(4), e58-e58.
Uno, Y., Uchiyama, T., Kurosawa, M., Aleksic, B., & Ozaki, N. (2015). Early exposure to the combined measles–mumps–rubella vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines and risk of autism spectrum disorder. Vaccine, 33(21), 2511-2516.
D’Souza, Y., Fombonne, E., & Ward, B. J. (2006). No evidence of persisting measles virus in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from children with autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 118(4), 1664-1675.
** Psych References
Hornsey, M. J., Harris, E. A., & Fielding, K. S. (2018). The Psychological Roots of Anti-Vaccination Attitudes: A 24-Nation Investigation. Health Psychology, American Psychological Association.
Phadke, V. K., Bednarczyk, R. A., Salmon, D. A., & Omer, S. B. (2016). Association between vaccine refusal and vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States: a review of measles and pertussis. Jama, 315(11), 1149-1158.