The big V

This month, Get it takes a closer look at a trending topic on social media right now: the big V. Vaccinations, that is…

There are a few things one should never discuss in a social setting: religion, politics and…vaccinations.

It’s a topic that ignites passionate debate from people on both sides of the fence, most particularly parents. This year alone, the debate has been thrust into the spotlight with wellknown personalities including celebrity chef, Pete Evans, publicly promoting the anti-vax movement on social media.

So are the sensational fears surrounding vaccines legitimate or simply fallacies born of a need to serve one’s own agenda?

Let’s take a closer look at three of the common reasons for not getting vaccinated… and why they are complete and utter crap.

Vaccination causes autism.

Despite the fact that this theory has been disproved over and over again, it just won’t fall silent.

While autism rates in developing countries have risen since the introduction of vaccines, there have been multiple studies proving that there is no link between the two. This increase is more likely correlated to an increase in diagnostic information or changing definitions of autism.

In fact, the medical paper that sparked the fear that vaccinations caused autism, has since been revealed to be fraudulent. In 1998, gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, MD, published a study that claimed to have found evidence of children who had exhibited symptoms of autism after MMR vaccination. The reaction to the publication was immediate and sensational. The media jumped on the story, and it spread like wildfire. Parents were frightened and began to delay, and even entirely refuse vaccination for their children.

Over the next twelve years, the possibility of a link between vaccinations and autism was studied exhaustively. Interestingly, no reputable, relevant study confirmed Wakefield’s findings.

Finally, in 2004, it was revealed that Wakefield had been paid by attorneys wanting to file lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers to produce the study and the paper was eventually retracted.

But much like those who once passionately stood by the theory that the earth was flat, there are those who still continue to pay lip service to this absurd fallacy.

Vaccines are just a money grab for big pharmaceuticals.

Okay, let’s be clear on this. Do pharmaceutical companies make money on vaccinations? Yes, they do.

Do you know what they would make even more money on? Chronic disease.

So it begs the question, to any logical mind, why would pharmaceutical companies produce vaccines to prevent the diseases that they would profit most from?

It makes no sense.

The truth is, if vaccination rates dropped there would be an increase in preventable disease, many of which have high rates of complications resulting in hospitalisation and expensive treatment. And there is far more money in that than there is in vaccines.

Another argument often used by anti-vaxxers is that pharmaceutical companies see vaccines as an investment. They suggest the game plan is to break even on the vaccines themselves but make a bank load on treating the chronic problems they cause!

Let’s forget the medical side for one moment and consider this from a business point of view. This would be a business strategy that would be literally laughed out of the secret big pharmaceutical’s boardroom because they know that vaccines don’t cause chronic problems. The vaccines prevent it.

It just doesn’t make any sense.

The diseases we are being vaccinated against don’t exist any more.

You’re absolutely right. And be assured, it’s not because they just had enough one-day, packed up their suitcase and disappeared. It’s down to one very simple reason that begins with the letter V…yes, you guessed it: vaccinations.

There are a number of preventable diseases that are very rare in our society. This is because we have been collectively vaccinating against them for decades.

This doesn’t mean we can rest on our proverbial laurels. While these diseases are not prevalent in our society, they are more rampant in other parts of the world and travellers can unknowingly bring these diseases home with them.

This is where the concept of herd immunity becomes so imperative. Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when the majority of the population is immune, providing a measure of protection to those who aren’t. For the few that are genuinely allergic or unable to be vaccinated, this measure of protection is vital.

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