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Are vaccines safe? Show more Show less
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Immunisation is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. "Anti-vaxxers” have firm convictions about vaccines’ harmful effects and many people believe their children have been harmed by vaccines. Others have ‘vaccine hesistancy’: they are not inherently anti-vaccine, but are concerned or confused by the mixed messages they are exposed to and want to do the best for their children.

Vaccines are safe Show more Show less

Until the beginning of the 20th Century, infectious diseases were the most common cause of death. This is no longer the case because of the development of vaccines. The reality is that vaccines have saved countless lives.
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"Safe" is a relative term

Vaccines are the safer option when confronted with a choice between leaving a child vulnerable to disease or vaccinating them.

Context

For accurate information on the efficiency of vaccines, consult the WHO website.[1] Among communities that face infectious diseases on a daily basis, where the benefits of vaccines are most visible, there are fewer fears over vaccine safety. This is because, relatively speaking, vaccines are "safe". The risks of not being vaccinated far outweigh the risks of being vaccinated. When we deal with medication and treatment, relative safety should be the only thing that matters.

The Argument

The fiercest sceptics of vaccine safety are from the higher-income countries of Western Europe and North America. This is because these populations do not have to face the deadly consequences of the infectious diseases that ravage places like Bangladesh and Rwanda, where there is almost unanimous support and trust of vaccinations.[2] The only reason the safety of vaccines is widely discussed is because people in the West have not directly experienced the horrors of whooping cough or polio. Vaccines, even if they are not perfect, are far safer than leaving children exposed to these diseases.[3] The risk of a very serious reaction to a vaccine is extremely rare — 1 in 1 million doses, according to the CDC.[4] Seizures after vaccines are also very rare. In contrast, the risk of a child with measles contracting pneumonia is 1 in 20. Around 1 in every 1000 children with measles may develop encephalitis, a swelling of the brain that can cause deafness or intellectual disability, and for around 1 or 2 of every 1000 children, measles is even fatal.

Counter arguments

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Vaccinating a child is safer than leaving them vulnerable to a deadly disease. [P2] Therefore, vaccines are safe.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.who.int/topics/vaccines/en/
  2. https://twitter.com/wellcometrust/status/1141314688845832194/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1141314688845832194&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vox.com%2F2019%2F6%2F19%2F18681930%2Freligion-vaccine-refusal
  3. https://www.vox.com/2019/6/19/18681930/religion-vaccine-refusal
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0424-immunization-program.html

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This page was last edited on Monday, 23 Mar 2020 at 14:27 UTC

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