The number of people against vaccinations - aka anti-vaxxers - seems to be growing with every year.
So, is there any truth to the widespread fear of vaccinations? Not really.
A new video from AsapSCIENCE has thoroughly debunked and deconstructed the most common anti-vaccination arguments.
Now, the next time you encounter an anti-vaxxer, you'll be fully prepared and armed with the facts.
1. Vaccines contain "dangerous" chemicals like MSG, antifreeze, phenol, formaldehyde, aluminum and lead.
While it's true that many vaccines contain chemicals like mercury aluminum and formaldehyde, the doses are so small that the substances are not considered toxic.
"The dose makes the poison, and the doses of the chemicals in vaccines are negligible," the video explains.
For example, vaccines contain tiny amounts of aluminum to help make the shots more effective. In total, the aluminum present amounts to about 0.125 mg per dose, which is way less than the average 30 to 50 mg the average human consumes every day.
And even though the mercury used in vaccines is also negligible, it was removed from almost all childhood vaccines in 2001 after public outrage.
2. A child's immune system doesn't need to "develop naturally".
Far from weakening your immune system, vaccines actually strengthen your immune system. Vaccines introduce a weakened form of virus into your body so that your system can learn to identify and defend against any future infections.
For young and old people, boosting your immune system with a vaccine is particularly important. For instance, children must be given vaccines for dangerous infections at a young age, because this is when their immune systems are most susceptible.
3. Vaccines can't give you allergies.
In 1997, people began to question whether vaccines can give you allergies, but robust research shows vaccines have the exact opposite effect: They protect you from allergies.
4. "These diseases aren't even all that dangerous. If you've got the measles what's the worst that can happen?"
Vaccines have been so effective they have stopped millions of people from dying and prevented millions more from permanent physical disabilites.
For instance, in the 1960's smallpox was responsible for millions of deaths, but just two decades later it was completely eradicated due to an aggressive vaccine campaign.
5. Vaccines can't give you autism.
In the 1990's, a paper was published that found a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The study was later proven to be fraudulent by multiple comprehensive and long-term studies.
Plus, 10 out of 13 of the original paper's authors have now refuted and retracted their original statements.
6. "People should have the choice to vaccinate because the choice only affects you."
Wrong. Vaccines don't just protect you, they also help other people stay healthy around you - especially old people, young people and people who can't get vaccinated themselves, like those undergoing chemotherapy.
This is called herd immunity, and it effects the health of everybody - not just you.
7. "It's all a conspiracy and big pharma is secretly trying to kill us."
Of course pharmaceutical companies make money from vaccines, but that doesn't mean the shots are bad for you. In the U.S., between 1994 and 2013, vaccines created a net savings of $295 billion in direct costs and US$1.3 trillion in societal costs.
And while it's true some pharmaceutical treatments have been pulled off the market because of unforseen side effects, vaccines are some of the most highly regulated substances we can put in our bodies. In the US, it can take 10 to 25 years for just one vaccines to be approved, and even once it's on the market it continues to be watched carefully.
In fact, the chances of you having a reaction to the MMR vaccine is one in a million, which is ten times less likely than being killed by lightning. The odds are clearly in your favor, so get your shots.
This article was originally published on our sister site, Science As Fact.