Are Vaccines That Safe? Experts Discuss 8 Popular Theories

It’s already been decades since US public health officials have been striving to educate the population and eliminate some of the most common misbeliefs we have about vaccines in general.

Despite their efforts, research, and evidence presented, many of us are still reluctant when it comes to vaccination for various reasons. Unfortunately, this has also led to a concerning increase in severe illnesses, although we already have developed vaccines for them.

Just a few years ago, for example, California reported 9,120 cases of whooping cough – more than any other year since 1940, when the vaccine for this illness was developed. Ten infants tragically passed away due to whooping cough that year.

Ever since the first COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, we’re all thinking about whether they’re truly safe or not.

Have you heard the theory that says some vaccines can cause autism? Or that a vaccine can actually give us the very disease it’s meant to protect us from?

It’s 2023, and it’s time for all of us to learn the truth. Today, experts will help us figure out once and for all whether vaccines are truly safe or not.

Stick with us until the end to find out which are the recommended vaccines right now and bonus info about the COVID-19 vaccines!

Our immune system can’t handle vaccines

This is one of the main concerns – especially when it comes to infants. Babies and small children seem so sensitive that giving them such a variety of vaccines that are artificially produced might just seem like too much.

Luckily, though, it’s all safe.

Scientists have looked into the number of antibodies in babies’ blood – and the results were amazing. Statistically proven, a baby can respond to up to 10,000 vaccines at the same time.

Right now, US public health officials are recommending 14 different vaccines to be administered to babies during their first year of life. Theoretically, even if those 14 vaccines were all administered simultaneously, our precious babies would still be fine.

Of course, this information is only valid for healthy babies without any increased risk of abnormalities or other underlying illnesses.

vaccine
Photo by PhotobyTawat from shutterstock.com

Vaccines can contain dangerous toxins

Some vaccines are manufactured using aluminum, mercury, or formaldehyde. All of these elements are toxic and can become life-threatening for those who take them; clearly, people have become more and more concerned about taking vaccines containing such ingredients.

Firstly, note that every single vaccine must be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration before being utilized on patients. Even if there are traces of mercury, aluminum, or formaldehyde found in certain vaccines, their quantity is so low that they are completely harmless.

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that formaldehyde is produced in higher amounts by our metabolic systems than it is in some vaccines (research here).

Natural immunity is better

Sometimes, if you actually get sick from a disease and recover from it, you’ll get better immunity than you would if you got a vaccine. This is perfectly true.

However, you must also acknowledge that the health risks of getting certain illnesses are extremely serious and might even be fatal. That’s where vaccination comes in.

For example, if you just wait to get measles in order to become immune to it, your chances of passing away are 1 in 500. If you get vaccinated against measles, on the other hand, you’ll face a one-in-one million chance of experiencing severe allergic reactions or other unpleasant side effects.

Just by comparing the two scenarios, we can tell that, in most cases, vaccination is a much safer alternative to strengthening your immune system.

Infection rates are low in our country

During the past year, you’ve probably heard the words ‘herd immunity’ a lot. This medical theory says that if most of the population becomes immunized against a certain illness, the unimmunized minority will also be protected from the threat.

The basic principle behind the theory is that when so many people are immune to a disease, it simply can’t spread. Herd immunity is crucial in some cases, especially if we think about children, pregnant women, or people with underlying illnesses who might not be able to get vaccinated.

Thanks to vaccination, we no longer fear for our lives when we think about illnesses like smallpox, rubeola, or whooping cough, which could easily kill people (especially children) in the past.

The CDC has been warning for several years that traveling can also expose us to viruses or bacteria that can be life-threatening. This is yet another reason why you should always get the recommended vaccines for the area you’re about to visit.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is the most recent example of what can happen if an easily transmittable virus attacks the population without a vaccine at hand. Luckily, though, we can still protect ourselves.

Vaccines can actually infect us

Another common reason why people refuse to vaccinate themselves or their loved ones is that they believe that the vaccine can in fact infect us with the very disease it’s meant to prevent.

It’s true that many vaccines can give us side effects that resemble the disease they were designed to prevent. When this happens, many people fear that the vaccination has gone wrong and they’re actually suffering from the actual disease.

Firstly, these symptoms occur simply because the immune system is getting used to the vaccine. You may think of it as a learning process where your immune cells are accumulating new information to learn how to keep you safe in case you contract that specific illness.

The second reason why side effects and strange symptoms may occur is that vaccines are manufactured using antigens – tiny parts from the organism that causes the disease. Since part of the vaccine resembles the virus structure, you may experience symptoms similar to the actual illness; however, it does not mean you got infected.

Hygiene protects us more than vaccines

Third-world countries where people lack proper sanitation and hygiene experience a much higher rate of infection with life-threatening illnesses.

There’s no doubt that good hygiene can keep us safe from an incredible range of viruses and bacteria, and it’s our great privilege that we can follow these safety measures. As the COVID-19 pandemic showed us, even the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus can be prevented by simply washing our hands frequently and sanitizing public surfaces.

However, even these measures aren’t always enough to keep us safe.

And measles is one disease that has proven this theory for good.

Since the first vaccines for measles were introduced in 1963, the rate of infection has dropped to about 400,000 cases per year. Within the following decade, though, infection rates had dropped incredibly, to only 25,000 cases by the 1970s – and hygiene habits hadn’t changed much in the meantime.

Vaccines can cause autism

This theory has probably been the most popular one in recent years – but where does it really come from?

The story of autism-causing vaccines dates back to a 1997 study published in The Lancet, a respected medical journal. According to the research paper, rubella, mumps, and measles vaccines were all increasing the autism rates in British children.

Shortly after being published, the paper received extreme criticism after ethical violations and procedural errors have been revealed. Andrew Wakefield, the leading surgeon in the study, lost his medical license, and The Lancet retracted the paper immediately.

After these alleged findings, several major studies were conducted on the topic; none of them found any link between vaccines and autism whatsoever.

Today, we still don’t know what causes autism; however, scientists have recently started to find very early symptoms of the disease way before they receive vaccinations.

vaccine
Photo by No-Mad from shutterstock.com

Vaccines aren’t worth the risk

Like any other medical treatment, vaccines can have a series of side effects. Additionally, some people may also experience allergic reactions. What some people fear most, though, are the potential long-term negative effects of vaccination – even those that aren’t scientifically proven.

Sometimes these reasons may spark so much fear among people that they end up refusing to get vaccinated just because of what might happen if they do. This is the exact situation with the COVID-19 vaccines. People refused to get vaccinated because they were afraid of side effects.

It’s true that the COVID-19 vaccines were new, and we were still learning about their long-term effects on our immune system and overall health. However, there are plenty of other vaccines that have been administered for decades, and there’s solid evidence suggesting they’re 100% safe for healthy individuals.

Vaccines recommended for children

The first few years of our lives mark the debut of our immune system; this is the ideal time to get vaccinated against some of the most dangerous diseases that can still be contracted.

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics are currently recommending the following vaccines to keep children safe:

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria: a disease that affects the heart muscle and can lead to paralysis or heart failure.
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B): This infection affects the brain and spinal cord and may lead to intellectual disabilities and pneumonia.
  • Hepatitis A: a serious condition that might cause liver and kidney failure along with several life-threatening blood abnormalities.
  • Hepatitis B: Much like the previous one, hepatitis B can cause liver failure and kidney disorders.
  • The flu (influenza): it can affect the lungs by causing pneumonia and may be life-threatening.
  • Measles: a severe condition that leads to encephalitis (brain swelling) and pneumonia.
  • Mumps: it can cause meningitis (a brain and spinal cord infection) along with inflammation of the genitalia and deafness
  • Pertussis: can lead to pneumonia, which is life-threatening.
  • Polio: an aggressive illness that might cause paralysis and can be fatal
  • Pneumococcal: this condition causes blood infections and meningitis
  • Rotavirus: although it’s not fatal, this virus can cause extreme diarrhea and severe dehydration that might require hospitalization
  • Rubella: the main symptoms are swollen lymph nodes and fever. In pregnant women, rubella can lead to stillbirth, birth defects, or premature deliveries
  • Tetanus: it causes muscle spasms, and fever, and may even lead to broken bones and breathing difficulties breathing.

Hepatitis A and B are transmitted through direct contact; rotavirus can be contracted through the mouth; and tetanus is transmitted through skin cuts.

Aside from that, though, every other illness can be transmitted through the air, which means the chances of getting the specific virus or bacteria are dangerously high.

Improving your immunity

In the end, the choice of vaccination belongs to you, and it depends on a wide range of factors. Of course, your doctor also has a word to say here since some vaccines aren’t recommended for people with underlying illnesses (although those are rare situations).

However, having a strong immune system remains the key to staying healthy; after all, we don’t have a vaccine for every virus or bacteria around us, right?

Our lifestyle choices have a major influence on how strong our immune system can be. What we eat, our physical activities, and even our mental health impact our immunity.

With that in mind, I’m going to leave some helpful information below on how you can easily adapt your lifestyle for a stronger immune system.

If you want to learn more about vaccines and why they are not harmful this book might help you.

You should also check out: 11 Places on Your Body You’re Not Using Sunscreen (But You Should)

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