Vaccines have been used to prevent diseases for centuries, and have saved countless lives of children and adults. The smallpox vaccine was invented as early as 1796, and since then the use of vaccines has continued to protect us from countless life threatening diseases such as polio, measles, and pertussis. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention assures that vaccines are extensively tested by scientist to make sure they are effective and safe, and must receive the approval of the Food and Drug Administration before being used.
“Perhaps the greatest success story in public health is the reduction of infectious diseases due to the use of vaccines” . Routine immunization has eliminated smallpox from the globe and led to the near removal of wild polio virus. Vaccines have reduced some preventable infectious diseases to an all-time low, and now few people experience the devastating effects of measles, pertussis, and other illnesses.
Despite all the testing and approval process of vaccines, many people still mistakenly believe that vaccines cause autism, even in light of research that has disproven the notion.
This evidences the difficulty of dispelling false statements once someone has accepted a falsehood, especially if it has scientific research backing the results. It also highlights the gullibility of the public at large to believe anything that medical research reports without questioning the findings. Unfortunately, the media attention such examples of junk science receive aids in convincing many of its truthfulness. The hype surrounding the belief that vaccines cause autism began in 1998 when Andrew Wakefield in the UK published an article in the Lancet linking the measles, mumps, and rubella.
- Offit, P. (2011). Deadly choices: how the anti-vaccine movement threatens us all. New York, NY: Basic Books.
- Ratzan, S. C. (2010). Setting the record straight: Vaccines, autism, and the Lancet. Journal Of Health Communication, 15(3), 237-239. doi:10.1080/10810731003780714
- Raff, J. (2014). Dear parents, you are being lied to. Huffington Post, Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-raff/dear-parents-you-are-being-lied-to-about-vaccines_b_5112620.html
- Wakefield, A. J., Murch, S. H., Anthony, M. A., Linnell, J., Casson, D. M., Malik, M., Berelowitz, M., Dhillon, A. P., Thomson, M. A., Harvey, P., Valentine, A., Davies, S. E., & Walker-Smith, J. A. (1998). Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet, 351(9103), 637–641.
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