Why are anti-vaxx people fearful of vaccine?
- Quitting vaccination will cause resurgence of defeated infections!
The last two centuries have witnessed significant progress in the invention, development and availability of many vaccines against diseases that are potentially fatal. Smallpox vaccine remains the most celebrated discovery in this area, whereas, there has been an incontrovertible reduction in several other infectious diseases, thanks to the gift of vaccine. These diseases include measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, HPV and Hepatitis B.
Vaccines alone save up to 3 million childhood deaths, globally. Within medicine, have had more impact than vaccine. Yet resistance to vaccine has existed as long as vaccine itself due to real or perceived risks associated with immunization. Many people avoid vaccinating their children, which in turn may lead to lower vaccination coverage and loss of herd immunity. Herd Immunity? Yes. An interesting thing to notice is that the overall efficacy of vaccines is largely dependent on coverage, so when coverage dwindles, outbreaks occur. Due to the rising hesitancy shown toward vaccination by a certain group of people, resurgence of defeated diseases is likely! Deficient coverage also dampens the appetite for new vaccines, stifling innovation and robbing patients of better solutions.
The first step to improve vaccine uptake is to address the fear that prevents it. But that is more complex than it sounds. People do not fear all vaccines for the same reason. Throughout the history various anti-vaccine literature have been published, polluting the minds of ‘conscious’ individuals, leading to paranoia. Following are the few harmful outcomes that people commonly associate with
- Anti-Polio Vaccine can make one infertile
The polio vaccine does not cause infertility and has no ingredient that may result in anyone becoming infertile. The test conducted in 2015 by the National Control Laboratory for Biologicals, controlled by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), confirmed that the polio vaccine being used in Pakistan is halal and does not contain any hormones that may cause infertility. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) is safe and has been declared halal by Islamic leaders all over the world.
- MMR Vaccine cause Autism
The belief that vaccines increase risk of autism originated in 1997 after Andrew Wakefield’s research that has long been discredited. The article suggested that MMR vaccine was increasing autism in British children. After the theory was debunked, Wakefield lost his medical license and the paper was retracted from the journal.
Ever since many major studies have been conducted to test the hypothesis, none of which could place blame place on the vaccine for Austism.
- Vaccine can make the receptor sick and are not worth the risk
To date not a single major and credible study has succeeded in proving that vaccines can cause long term health complications. Considering the immediate harms, including side effects and allergic reaction to the vaccine, the incidence of death is so rare that it is easily negligible.
For example, only one death was reported to the CDC between 1990 and 1992 that was attributable to a vaccine. The overall incidence rate of severe allergic reaction to vaccines is usually placed around one case for every one or two million injections.
- Vaccine will cause the infection it is mean to prevent
It is very rare (1 in a million) for the vaccine recipient to manifest symptoms resembling that of the infection. It is of utmost importance that people are made aware that those symptoms reflect the immune system’s response to the vaccine, and in no way imply the extraction of the infection.
There is only one recorded instance in which a vaccine was shown to cause disease. This was the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which is no longer used in the U.S. Since then, vaccines have been in safe use for decades and follow strict Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
- Objection to Vaccine due to religious beliefs
Religious objections to vaccines are based generally on (1) the ethical dilemmas associated with using human tissue cells to create vaccines, and (2) beliefs that the body is sacred, should not receive certain chemicals or blood or tissues from animals, and should be healed by God or natural means.
There are incidents on record wherein, a community suffered at the hands of a resurgence of a preventable disease because their religious school of thoughts compelled them to fear and avoid vaccine. Because of these outbreaks and the increasing number of religious vaccine exemptions, the CDC and other medical and public health officials warn parents that unvaccinated children are at a higher risk for acquiring vaccine preventable infections
- Paranoia and mistrust in vaccine campaigns
In Pakistan, the majority of anti-vaxx people believe these vaccine campaigns to be ‘Western Plots’, which are aimed at stunting our population growth by making the vaccine recipients infertile. Anti-polio vaccination has also been called an American ploy to sterilize Muslim populations, and an attempt to avert Allah’s will. Resistance to vaccination has even resulted in violent beatings, kidnappings and killings of the campaign workers.
Time and again many lab tests have demystified any such myths and rumors. The vaccines have been regarded as safe and necessary to eradicate preventable diseases, in order for healthier and safer future generations.