Nearly half of those surveyed doubt vaccine safety

Nearly half of those surveyed doubt vaccine safety by Dr. Joseph Mercola for Merocla

Every vaccine comes with a risk of adverse reactions, including death, and those risks can be greater for some people. It’s up to each person to decide if the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits of the vaccination.

In the U.S., the CDC now recommends that children receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines by the time they’re 18 years old, with 50 doses of 14 vaccines given before the age of 6.1 Adults are also being pressured by public health officials and doctors to get an annual flu shot and other vaccinations.2

It’s safe to say that most parents want what’s best for their children, including protecting them from harm, and a sizable number are now wondering whether following the current childhood vaccine schedule is what’s best for children and whether all the vaccines being recommended by doctors for adults are also safe and effective. In an online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, 45% said they had doubts about vaccine safety.3

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Why Americans are doubting vaccine safety

As for why 2 in 5 U.S. adults said they had doubts about vaccine safety, online articles, past secrets and wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry and information from medical experts were noted as top reasons. Past secrets/wrongdoing by government was also cited as casting doubt on vaccine safety for 11% of respondents.

When asked about views on vaccine safety and efficacy, 17% of respondents again expressed some doubts, with 2% selecting, “I think vaccines are unsafe and ineffective,” 6% agreeing with, “I think the risks of vaccine side effects outweigh the potential benefits of vaccination,” and 9% selecting, “I am unsure of whether vaccines are safe and effective.”

Perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Rachel Shmuts, told the American Osteopathic Association, “From an evolutionary perspective, humans are primed to pay attention to threats or negative information. So it makes sense that people hold onto fears that vaccines are harmful, especially when they believe their children are in danger.”4

How safe are vaccines?

The CDC states, “Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages,”5 but this isn’t the whole truth. Studies comparing vaccinated populations with unvaccinated populations are rare, but one conducted in 2017 was eye-opening.

It examined the introduction of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) and oral polio vaccine (OPV) in an urban African community in the early 1980s, offering a rare opportunity to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children due to the way the vaccines were rolled out.

Surprisingly, DTP was associated with increased mortality among 3- to 5-month-old children, and differences in background factors did not explain the effect.6 According to the study, “The negative effect was particularly strong for children who had received DTP-only and no OPV … All-cause infant mortality after 3 months of age increased after the introduction of these vaccines.”7

It’s suggested that while DTP may be protective against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, it may increase children’s susceptibility to unrelated infections, making mortality rates five times higher for DTP-vaccinated children compared to unvaccinated children. The researchers explained:8

“It should be of concern that the effect of routine vaccinations on all-cause mortality was not tested in randomized trials. All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.

Though a vaccine protects children against the target disease it may simultaneously increase susceptibility to unrelated infections.”

Other clinical trials in West Africa revealed that a high titer measles vaccine interacted with the DTP vaccine, resulting in a 33 percent increase in infant mortality.9 In this case, the finding led to the withdrawal of that experimental measles vaccine targeting very young infants, but what would have happened had those studies never been done? Clearly, we need many more like them.

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