7 Fatal Childhood
Vaccination Myths Debunked
Vaccination Myths Debunked
So many parents today distrust vaccines, and much of that can be attributed to the dissemination of fake news on social media sites. All it takes is one person on Facebook to spread an opinion as fact, and people rapidly begin to question years of scientific research.
The consequences of taking these ideas as truth are far-reaching and very dangerous. Children who aren’t receiving their baby immunisation schedule are no longer immune to certain diseases. And this has led to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
In 2019 the United States reported 1,282 cases of measles, of which most occurred in groups of unvaccinated people. This was the highest outbreak in over 17 years. The UK, Sweden, Ireland, and Japan also saw similar results when parents stopped vaccinating their children for pertussis (whooping cough). In every case, there was a resurgence of the disease and, unfortunately, some deaths.
We know that vaccines work. Smallpox was eradicated by 1980 due to a worldwide immunisation campaign.
We’re now fighting the Covid epidemic. Millions of people have lost their lives, and despite the creation and dissemination of vaccines which are proving to provide a level of immunity against the disease, people are sceptical.
So how do we combat this? How do we get parents to vaccinate their children? By providing care and information our community can trust. That’s why we’re breaking down seven common myths about vaccines, including some about the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have a question not covered here, let us know on email@example.com, or consult with your doctor or paediatrician.
7 Myths about Childhood Immunizations
1. Vaccines cause autism in children
In 1997, a British surgeon named Andrew Wakefield published a study in a prestigious medical journal suggesting the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine had increased autism cases in children.
This theory was later discredited due to serious ethical violations, conflicts of interest, and procedural errors. Wakefield was also disbarred, but the damage was done. People now began to question the dangers of vaccinating their children.
Here’s what we know for certain. Scientists have conducted multiple studies and have found no conclusive evidence that the MMR vaccine or any other vaccine increases your child’s risk of developing autism. In fact, evidence suggests that autism develops in utero, well before a baby receives its first inoculation.
2. Too many vaccines are bad for your infant’s immune system
This is simply not true. Every day your baby is exposed to bacteria and viruses. You just have to watch them for a short while to realise they’re constantly putting their fingers in their mouth, usually after touching the floor, a pet, dirt, food. The list is exhaustive.
Their immune systems are so strong that scientists theorise they could withstand up to 10,000 vaccines at a time . So technically, we could give your child their full immunisation schedule in one go, and it would only have a minor effect on their health.
And yes, there are more vaccines today than, say, ten years ago, but they’re more efficient. So don’t worry about the number of vaccines your little one needs—focus instead on the benefits of vaccinating your child.
3. It’s better to develop natural immunity than vaccine immunity
While it can be said that contracting and overcoming a disease naturally results in a stronger immune system, in some cases, people die. Take Covid-19, in Namibia in 2020 alone, 2,7% of Namibians have passed away due to the coronavirus.
With these odds, it could be said that your immune system could naturally fend off the virus. But what if you have undiagnosed comorbidity? Is it worth the risk?
4. The Diptheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP) Vaccine possibly causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Another common myth that never fails to rear its ugly head is the link between the DTP vaccine and SIDS. Controlled studies comparing vaccinated and non-vaccinated children have been conducted to prove or disprove this theory. One such study in the 1980s concluded that SIDS deaths would have occurred with or without the DTP vaccine.
5. Access to better hygiene, clean drinking water, and sanitation are responsible for lower infection rates, not vaccines
Absolutely, improvements in infrastructure and access to clean drinking water, better nutrition, and sanitation have reduced the prevalence of infectious diseases. But in rural areas where children and adults still use pit toilets, bathe in and collect water from local rivers for drinking, and are unable to access basic medical care, the occurrence of infectious diseases are substantially higher.
This alone could disprove the theory that vaccines are not necessary. But scientists have monitored the incidence rate of certain diseases pre and post the introduction of vaccines, and in all instances, the numbers have plummeted.
6. It’s not worth the risk of vaccinating. There could be long-term side effects
There are risks in everything you do. Think about it. Every time you go into the ocean, you risk encountering and being bitten by a shark. Every time you eat something like meat or an apple chunk, you risk choking. Every time you go for a drive in your car, you risk a potential car accident.
The truth is, parents around the world have been successfully vaccinating their children for decades. We know that the incidence of diseases has decreased. We just have to look at the numbers. And to date, there are no credible studies linking vaccines to harmful long-term health problems. So there is no immediate or long-term danger to vaccinating your child.
7. It’s best to delay routine vaccinations until the coronavirus pandemic has passed
Pandemic or no pandemic, the CDC and medical professionals agree it’s vital you stay up-to-date with routine vaccinations. Our baby immunisation schedule has been designed to give your child protection against a few nasty diseases at just the right time. Missing a vaccine could be harmful to your child’s health, so make sure you schedule into your calendar the dates you need to bring your little one in for their next jab.
And by vaccinating your loved ones, you’re helping to stop the spread of infectious diseases and do your part to protect your family, friends and local community.
Welwitschia Hospital’s Dear Baby Programme offers support and education in Baby’s Development and health. We strongly encourage Mothers to visit of Well-Baby & Mother Clinic for Immunisations and support for early childhood development and care.
Make the best decision for your baby’s health & development
While vaccines can cause minor side effects, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Before accepting that video doing the rounds on WhatsApp or social media as gospel truth, ask yourself, is this a credible source? What scientific evidence do they have to support their claims? What does the World Health Organization (WHO) have to say?
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