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The Anti-Vax Movement - a Public Health Timebomb

Spring 2015 saw the first death from measles in the United States in 12 years. Now, in 2019, measles outbreaks have sprung up in 10 US states. But it’s not just in the States. In England in 2017 there were 259 measles cases which rose to 966 in 2018. In an unvaccinated population, one person with measles can infect 12 to 18 others. Measles have now been declared a global threat, leading the medical world to fear that other deadly diseases may soon follow suit as vaccine rejection has become a growing public health timebomb. 

WHAT IS ANTI-VAXING?

An anti-vaxxer refuses to be vaccinated themselves or refuses for their children to be vaccinated. Historically, people chose not to have vaccinations for religious or philosophical objections but fraudulent research linking the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) jab to autism by the disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield has led to cross-cultural hesitancy of vaccination. The study was rendered invalid in 2010 and labelled the most damaging medical publication in the last 100 years. 

Although anti-vaxxers are in the minority, health care professionals are becoming increasingly concerned about the influence of ill-informed celebrities and social media that claims to support anti-vaxing. 

HERE ARE SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT VACCINES…

• Giving a child multiple vaccines can overwhelm their immune system – FALSE 

 Although children receive more vaccines than in the past, today’s vaccines contain far fewer antigens. Though this probably wouldn’t make too much of a difference anyway as any vaccine only requires a tiny proportion of for example a baby’s immune system for it to respond and create antigens. 

• Natural infection is better than immunisation – FALSE

Anti-vaxxers believe recovering naturally from an infection will give you better immunity against that specific disease. There is no evidence to support this. In fact, natural diseases can actually cause sinister health defects like deafness, blindness, loss of limbs, brain damage, liver failure and in worse cases, death.

• Ingredients found in vaccines are harmful – FALSE

Excess aluminium is eliminated from the body shortly after the vaccine’s administration rendering it unharmful. Formaldehyde is a component found in paper towels and mascara and is used to detoxify diphtheria and tetanus. It is normal for a level of formaldehyde to be found within the blood stream and there are usually higher levels of formaldehyde found in the blood compared to levels found within vaccines, rendering it unharmful. 

• Disease rates have dropped due to factors other than vaccination – FALSE 

Although better living conditions have influenced disease rates, statistics have show that when developed countries have stopped using vaccines, such as whooping cough, the disease rate has jumped dramatically. 

• You are just as likely to get the illness even if you are vaccinated against it – FALSE

When an outbreak of disease reaches an area anyone is at risk because no vaccination is 100% effective, but those vaccinated are far less likely to catch the disease compared to unvaccinated individuals. 

• Vaccines aren’t worth the risk - FALSE

Adults and children have been vaccinated for years and there is no single credible study that links vaccines to long term health conditions. The incidence of death such as an allergic reaction or severe side effect is so rare that it cannot be even calculated.

• I will get the disease I am being vaccinated from. FALSE.

If you get mild symptoms such as an arm swelling or a low-grade temperature, then you are experiencing your body’s immune system response not the disease itself. 

If you have any questions about a particular vaccination, or would like to book an appointment for a vaccination, please contact a member of our team on 0330 088 2020.