WE HAVE TOLD THE DANGERS OF ANTI-SCIENTIFIC MOVEMENTS MUCH MORE TIME , including homeopathy , HIV dissent, and refusal to vaccinate. Corpus Publisher together with the Fund “Evolution” released a book of Paul Offit’s “Deadly choice. How the fight against vaccinations threatens us all ”in translation by Anastasia Brodotskaya. We looked at this book about the history of the anti-vaccine movement and selected ten interesting facts about vaccines, the arguments of their opponents, and the reasons why they are wrong.
Anti-vaccines have always put pressure on emotions
The first opponents of vaccination appeared at the same time as the vaccines themselves – and from the very beginning, being unable to scientifically substantiate their ideas, they simply tried to intimidate the population. Back in 1881 there was a first anti-vaccination booklet entitled “Vampire vaccinator”, in which it was said that vaccination against smallpox contains a “poison viper, blood, entrails and excrement volatile myshei ̆ , toads and blind puppies,” and all of these components will certainly turn a child into a multi-headed hydra, minotaur or dragon.
Emotional statements, loud phrases like “a vaccine is a syringe with a ready-made disease” and manipulation of facts, when the unproven dangers of vaccines are asserted and the real risk of infectious diseases is hushed up, are a common working tool of antivaccinators. In addition, they are prone to paranoia and are ready to accuse pharmaceutical companies, doctors and governments of different countries of “conspiracy to destroy our children” .
Vaccines do not damage the brain
Typical adverse events in the first couple of days after vaccination are redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, and sometimes an increase in body temperature, general malaise and lethargy. Vaccination opponents like to argue that these systemic manifestations (fever and weakness) are nothing more than the result of the harmful effects of vaccination on the brain. The development of febrile seizures (associated with high fever) gave anti-vaccineers a reason to claim that the vaccine caused epilepsy.
In reality, the human brain is protected by complex barriers and is very resistant to external influences: if severe colds and abuse at parties do not cause irreversible changes, then a slight increase in temperature or weakness is definitely not associated with them. A rise in temperature in a small child is a common thing with a cold, and only temperatures reaching 42 degrees are really dangerous ; after vaccination, such a pronounced fever practically does not occur. Febrile seizures , although frightening, are not associated with epilepsy and do not have any long-term consequences.
Whooping cough vaccine got the most
If, with some other bacteria, it was quite quickly possible to understand what kind of substance should be used to develop immunity, then it was not possible to isolate the most harmful protein from the pertussis causative agent – and whole bacterial cells, albeit inactivated, were used for vaccination. Since any foreign protein triggers a reaction on the part of the immune system (for example, in the form of signs of inflammation or allergies), it is not surprising that the vaccine, containing several thousand proteins, was rather difficult to tolerate.
Decades have passed, times have changed, and anti-vaccines still claim that vaccination is an infection with living microbes. Another reason is to say that vaccines contain human blood protein, which means that they are made from donated blood and may contain hepatitis or HIV viruses. True, anti-vaccinators forget that the same albumin (human blood protein) in vaccines contains synthetic, that is, created in a laboratory. As for the arguments against such “toxic” metals as aluminum, vaccines – the normal human diet contains more aluminum per day than all vaccines given to a child in the first few years of life.
The first anti-vaccines generally denied the existence of germs.
Back in 1877, Robert Koch identified the causative agent of anthrax, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, and by the beginning of the twentieth century, bacteria were known that cause more than twenty different infections. Unfortunately, vaccine fighters simply refused to believe in the existence of germs. They stated: “We are being intimidated with germs to death. Bacteria, bacteria, bacteria are everywhere … What now – give up shaking hands ̆ , kissing, eating and drinking? If germs are everywhere, it’s amazing that we’re still alive at all. ” A hundred years have passed, bacteria and viruses have been studied in detail under the lenses of powerful microscopes, and their deniers have not gone anywhere.
In the eighties, when several people died of AIDS and it was revealed that HIV was the cause, one of the famous opponents of vaccination, Gordon Stewart, began to declare that no virus existed. He argued that AIDS is not caused by the immunodeficiency virus, but sperm proteins entering the rectum – that is, the homosexual lifestyle was blamed for the disease. Stewart took the position of victim-blaming: “We should treat AIDS without any sentimentality and admit that this disease <…> is directly caused by the behavior of the victim.” Unfortunately, nowadays HIV deniers resemble a sect, and their efforts lead to the death of many patients, including children.
Tragedies due to low-quality vaccines really were
When the control of production processes was not as strict as it is today , there were real disasters. In the 1950s, the United States spent a long time researching a polio vaccine that was finally registered as safe. After registration, this vaccine began to be produced not only at the factories of the companies that developed it, but also at others – and the Cutter Laboratories company in California made a low-quality batch of the drug, without achieving complete inactivation of the virus. One hundred twenty thousand children received the vaccine from this batch, two hundred of whom remained paralyzed, and ten died of polio.
Even with high-quality manufacturing, the polio vaccine that was used in the United States carried risks – and the child of lawyer John Salamone contracted polio after being vaccinated. Salamone studied the issue and found out that there is another vaccine against this infection, much safer, which is used in Europe. Although changing the vaccine meant a significant increase in the budget (the American drug was taken by mouth, and the European one needed injections – that is, the materials for them and the work of staff who can give injections), Salamone achieved a change in polio vaccination policy in his country, as well as an improvement in the registration system. and tracking unwanted effects. In general, anti-vaccine users are not condemned for allowing themselves to question the safety of vaccines, but for exaggeration, lies and falsification of facts.
Anti-Vaccines Challenge Even the Achievements of Nobel Prize Winners
The Nobel Prize in 2008 was awarded to two scientists: Luc Montagnier for the discovery of HIV (retrospectively, since the virus was found back in 1983) and Harald zur Hausen, who proved that the cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus. Identifying practically the only, and moreover preventable, cause of the fatal disease is a great success, and scientists immediately set about developing a vaccine against HPV. Now such vaccines exist and are effective in preventing cervical cancer, one of the most common and very dangerous tumors in young women.
Of course, anti-vaccine activists could not pass by: they argued (and continue to claim) that doctors, together with pharmaceutical companies and governments, “poison” teenage girls with a dangerous vaccine, dreaming of causing them infertility, and then completely wiping out humanity from the face of the earth. Activist Barbara Lo Fisher even called the HPV vaccine “a vaccine for whores”, not taking into account that 70% of women become infected with the virus in the first years of sexual activity.
The vaccine- autism theory made money
By 2002, about five thousand applications had accumulated in court about vaccines allegedly causing autism. The so-called Joint Autism Trial began, as there were simply no resources to review each application separately . It was a colossal trial that lasted until 2010 and included an incredible amount of documents – the medical history of one of the children alone contained 7,700 pages. However, the court adhered to scientific evidence and ruled that there was no link between vaccinations and autism.
Moreover, during the investigation it turned out that the propaganda of the connection of vaccines with autism brought money to its ideologists. For example, the witness in the case of a boy with autism, allegedly caused by a vaccine, was a doctor who tried to treat him for autism. It turned out that he prescribed a large number of unnecessary medications, sold some dietary supplements right in his office, and also performed unnecessary examinations. For eight years, the child visited his office one hundred and sixty times, and for each visit the doctor received money.
Herd immunity does not protect against tetanus
One of the arguments of anti-vaccine users – let those who want it and are not afraid of vaccinating children, and we will decide for our children ourselves, and you should not worry about them. Unfortunately, vaccination works not only on an individual, but also on a collective level, and the number of people allowed without vaccinations is limited: if it is exceeded, the infection will spread. The more children ̆ are vaccinated, the more difficult it is for viruses and bacteria to spread. To eradicate polio, 70% of children need to be vaccinated, and the much more easily transmitted measles, 95%. Tetanus is an exception, because its pathogens are not transmitted from one person to another, but from the earth to the person. This means that even the only unvaccinated person among all the vaccinated can get sick.
The “limit” on the possibility of not being vaccinated is important – there are children for whom vaccinations are really contraindicated. Contraindications do not include common colds or snot, but serious diseases like leukemia. For a child with leukemia, being in a classroom where there are children who have not been vaccinated against chickenpox or rubella is a deadly risk, so anti-vaccination users are being cunning when they say that refusing vaccinations is their own business and does not concern others.
There are Hollywood stars among the activists
Model and actress Jenny McCarthy is the mother of a child with autism. At first, she argued that there was no such disease at all, and her son was a so-called indigo child, but then she changed her point of view. Now she admits that autism exists, and that it is caused by toxins in vaccines. Paradoxically, McCarthy has publicly confessed her love for Botox, which is certainly more toxic than any vaccine. This is not the only contradiction in the position of the actress: despising pharmaceutical companies for their greed, she actively advertises food additives, bringing their manufacturers millions of dollars.
Famous people have the opportunity to speak out to a very wide public, which also trusts them – but this does not mean that the stars cannot be wrong. Unfortunately, Cindy Crawford, Matthew McConaughey, and Jim Carrey spoke about the dangers of vaccines at different times. Fortunately, celebrities are also in favor of vaccinations: Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra took this position back in the fifties, and nowadays Amanda Peet, Keri Russell and Jennifer Garner, Salma Hayek, Kim Kardashian are talking about the importance of vaccination. , Bill Gates, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Obama and others.
You cannot deviate from the vaccination plan
All sorts of recommendations to postpone vaccines until later, “when the child’s body gets stronger” or to break them into several stages – this is also, in fact, an anti-vaccination movement, and such measures cause serious harm to children. One of the promoters of the “alternative vaccination calendar”, Robert Sears, has never been involved in the development of vaccines or their research – but presumptuously believes that his vaccination plan is better than the one developed by experts based on scientific evidence. In fact, the decision to postpone vaccinations or “break vaccines” so that no more than one and ̆ two are given at the same time is contrary to the recommendations of experts and puts the child at risk of serious ̆ illness or even death.
The whole history of vaccination shows that the attitude towards it in society is changing in waves. According to the spread of infection vaccinations are no longer distributed, and have people lost the fear of these infections, and now the fear of redness in the injection site becomes greater than the fear of a hypothetical polio. More and more people refuse from vaccination; when their number reaches a critical threshold, an outbreak of the disease develops. By Unfortunately, each new wave of confidence in the vaccine occurs after such outbreaks, leading to the death of children; it would be good for humanity to remember this and begin to learn from their mistakes, without repeating them.