Not all visitors to The Immunization Project’s website are deeply engaged in the medical and policy aspects of vaccines. Perhaps you’re a parent wondering about the safety of vaccines. Maybe you’re, like us, a true believer in vaccines as one of the safest, most life-saving medical advances in history, but you have friends or relatives who aren’t vaccinating, and you’re not sure how to respond to their concerns.
Then again, you might have heard about a fraudulent study that falsely linked vaccines with autism, or about the mercury that used to be in childhood vaccines, or about the number of vaccines vs. the number of antigens in vaccines, without understanding the details of exactly what’s being said.
For all the people who are interested in vaccination and don’t have forever to spend looking up the details, TIP’s “Immunizations 101” video is the perfect solution. This 19-minute video is narrated in a friendly and accessible way, by a mom and educator who understands parents’ concerns, outlining all the basic questions and answers about childhood vaccination.
And whenever a subject particularly interests you, it’s easy to pause the video and study the informative, detailed charts that provide additional information about the topic being discussed at that point.
Here’s a brief introduction to just a few of the fascinating facts that you’ll learn in the video:
- Parents naturally fret about the increasing number of vaccines; they’re concerned that perhaps their babies’ and children’s immune systems are being overwhelmed. But what matters isn’t the number of vaccines; it’s the number of antigens, the specific substances to which the child’s immune system mounts a response. And consider this: In the year 1900, when the only vaccination given was against smallpox, the number of antigens in that vaccination was about 200. In 1960, children were given five vaccines containing more than 3,000 antigens. In 1980, that was seven vaccines, also with 3,000 antigens. But then rapid advances in vaccine research and development led to today’s scenario: vaccinations against 11 diseases, with fewer than 150 antigens. That’s fewer antigens than with a single vaccine in 1900!
- Many parents wonder whose business it is if they choose not to vaccinate. The answer is that it’s the business of millions of people in our society. There are those who cannot be vaccinated because they are babies too young for a particular vaccine. Bringing whooping cough into the home of an infant can be fatal. Others might be allergic to ingredients in vaccines. Yet other people have special medical conditions—they might be taking immunosuppressive drugs or undergoing chemotherapy—that rule out vaccination for them. And though vaccines are highly effective, not every single vaccinated person has immunity as a result. That’s especially true of elderly people in group living situations; illness can sweep through retirement homes, and though the flu vaccine helps significantly, it’s not a guarantee against catching the disease. All of these people depend on having most of the folks in their communities vaccinated in order to protect them from dangerous diseases.
- Those toxins you hear about in vaccines? Ethyl mercury that used to be in childhood vaccines—but hasn’t been for years—isn’t the methyl mercury that’s found at problematic levels in shark, swordfish, some tuna and other fish. Methyl mercury isn’t processed well by the body, so it builds up; ethyl mercury is cleared by the body much faster. During the first six months of life, a baby that is exclusively breastfed will receive more aluminum from the breast milk than from the vaccines he or she receives. A pear has more formaldehyde than a vaccine.
There’s far more to learn in the video: How diseases can be brought to this country by visitors abroad; exactly what was what was so terrible about Andrew Wakefield’s “study” of the measles vaccine that led it to be retracted and him to lose his medical license; how serious side effects of vaccines compare with the chances of being struck by lightning or becoming a billionaire; the procedure that vaccines go through—over and over, as long as they’re on the market—to remain on the schedule of recommended immunizations.
That’s a remarkable amount of knowledge to be learned, all for the investment of 19 minutes.
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