Vaccination is a hot button issue, and it has been for nearly two decades. According to anti-vaxxers, many of the immunizations children receive are risky, they are dangerous, and they are downright unsafe, but pro-vaxxers believe the opposite. Immunizations are helpful and imperative. Vaccinations save lives. But which belief is correct? Which statement is a fact? Well, when I became pregnant with my own daughter, I went to the source: I turned to science, and, according to the literature and the studies, vaccinations are not only essential and reliable, immunizations are safe. But if that is true, how — and why — are there so many anti-vaccination arguments, and what’s the best response to them?
Vaccination safety came into question in 1998, when Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a research paper, entitled “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children,” in theThe Lancet, a peer reviewed medical journal. In it, Wakefield claimed there was a link between vaccinations and autism. Specifically, there was a link between the MMR vaccine — measles, mumps, and rubella — and autism. However, not everyone was convinced by the report, and for good reason. In 2010 — thanks to the hard work of an investigative journalist named Brian Deer — it was determined Wakefield falsified information and intentionally manipulated data. The study was retracted and Wakefield was stripped of his medical license, according to the Huffington Post. But that was six years ago. (Six years!) So why does the “to vax, or not to vax” question remain, and how can you respond to the many — and varied — anti-vaccination arguments? Here are a few common anti-vaccination arguments with a few solid ways to respond, because the safety and health of children is paramount.
1. “Sure, Wakefield’s study may have been unethical, unfounded, and completely inaccurate, but there’s also no proof that vaccinesdon’t cause autism.”