One of the biggest challenges the medical industry is currently facing is the widespread misinformation about immunization. Parents who have been convinced that vaccines are dangerous and unnecessary choose not to have their children receive shots, leaving them and others vulnerable. Now more than ever, immunization is a must to make sure our communities stay protected from diseases.
How does immunization work?
When a person gets sick and infected, their body produces antibodies to fight the virus or bacteria called pathogens that cause an illness. These antibodies remain in the system in order to prevent these pathogens from attacking again. That is what makes the body officially resistant from a particular sickness.
Vaccination works by triggering our body to produce antibodies designed to fight specific diseases, such as polio, hepatitis, measles, meningitis, pneumonia, etc. A vaccine contains a small amount of antigens found in the pathogen and is injected in the system to activate our system the same way it does when we actually become sick. This process not only protects the person from getting infected, but it also reduces the chances of the virus or bacteria from spreading around and causing an outbreak.
Because the shot is made from the pathogen that causes a particular sickness it is trying to prevent, many parents have become concerned about the medical industry’s strategy in eliminating the virus or bacteria. False claims were being made and spread, causing undue panic and fear. Below are some of the facts behind the most common misconceptions about immunization.
1. Better hygiene and sanitation is NOT more effective than vaccination
While it is true that better environment, nutrition, and sanitation have helped increase each generation’s life expectancy rate, these conditions are not always enough to prevent different viruses or bacteria from spreading around communities. For example, the only time there was a permanent, drop of measles incidents back in the 60s was when the vaccine was finally licensed and released to the public. There have also been cases where developed countries experienced a huge outbreak after they decided to cut back on vaccinations due to fear. Great Britain, Japan, and Sweden all had an epidemic immediately after the distribution of pertussis vaccine was stopped. This shows how infections can come back if there is a sudden drop of immunization rates.
2. Vaccines DO NOT cause autism
A study published in 1998 by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield stated that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine may be causing autism among children. Since then, multiple studies have followed, and none found a concrete link to vaccines and autism. This ultimately led to the removal of the publication and of the doctor’s license.
There is no actual proof that can confirm this statement, therefore there is no need for parents to worry. While there is no known cause for the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), studies suggest it involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
3. Babies can actually handle receiving multiple shots
Many people believe that giving babies multiple vaccines might be too much for them to handle. The dosage prescribed for infants are small enough for them to absorb and fight without the risk of severe side effects. This means that these vaccines are safe for babies. Additional studies have shown that the effectiveness of shots given in combinations are as effective when given individually.
4. Vaccination is still required regardless of the low to zero infection rate in an area
There are instances wherein a certain infection or illness has been eliminated in an area. This means that there is little to no cases of such disease being active. However, neighboring areas or other countries may still harbor the virus or bacteria. Therefore, those who are travelling may carry these pathogens back to their community. If vaccination is stopped, it will leave everyone in the community unprotected and vulnerable again to the particular illness.
5. Vaccines DO NOT cause harmful side effects in infants
During vaccination, it is common to get minor side effects that resemble the illness like fever or rashes. However, there has been no incident wherein a vaccine has been the main cause of death for an individual. Some believed that the Diptheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP) has been causing sudden death infant syndrome (SIDS) simply because those who have died of it have been vaccinated with DTP. However, this argument was easily debunked when various researches confirmed that, even if no vaccinations were given, the SIDS deaths would have still happened.
In order to make sure you have gotten all the necessary shots for protection, visit ManilaMed or call us at (02) 5238131-65 for consultations.