Friday, October 5, 2012

What Do We Really Know About Vaccines?

If you listen to a vaccine conspiracy theorist (aka: an antivaxxer) for long, they will eventually make a comment which resembles one of the following:
  • "Vaccines have never even been studied!"
  • "There is no science behind vaccines!"
  • "The safety of vaccines is unknown!"
  • "The efficacy of vaccines has never been proven!"
  • "Nobody has ever studied vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children!"  
  • "Vaccines don't work at all and aren't even based upon science!"
To that I say... Really?  I can understand someone missing a study or two, but when a five second Google search can provide over 577,000 results it seems antivaxxers are simply going out of their way to ignore what is right in front of them.

Getting more specific, if you want to know about vaccine efficacy the data is available.  If you want to know about vaccine safety the data is available.  Even if you want to know about a specific vaccine such as the Hepatitis B vaccine and you were trying to determine if there was ever a comparison between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, that data is available.

Or perhaps you heard about the Gardasil vaccine and you are curious if the efficacy of that one specific vaccine has ever been examined, the data is available.  Even if you get more specific and are curious if the Gardasil vaccine results in an increased risk of miscarriage (spoiler alert - there is no evidence to support an increased risk) - once again the data is available.  Even if you have some strange desire to know what women in the rural South happen to think about the Gardasil vaccine even if they had never heard of it before being asked... that data is available!

So the next time you hear an antivaxxer claim vaccines have never been studied or that their safety has never been examined it would seem they are either misinformed, they are ignorant to the plethora of scientific available at our fingertips, or they are simply being dishonest.

Perhaps it is true that antivaxxers don't study vaccines, but the scientific community most certainly does.

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