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Anti-Vax Myth Busting
A very large contributor to vaccine hesitancy has been the rampant flow of misinformation, leading those less educated in immunology and healthcare to believe in myths and falsehoods that are far from reality.
25 November, 2021

The most common misconceptions against vaccines and the scientific truth behind them.

At no point in history has the administration or impact of vaccines been as polarising a subject as during the Covid-19 pandemic. While a clear majority of the Western world’s populous has taken the jab, a surprisingly large proportion has also opted against it – citing a juxtaposing health risk as the main rationale. A very large contributor to this vaccine hesitancy has been the rampant flow of misinformation, leading those less educated in immunology and healthcare to believe in myths and falsehoods that are far from reality. This article explores some misconceptions that are rooted in exaggerated truths and others that are pure fabrications – with their scientifically accurate background.

Vaccine-Induced Immunity is Worse than Natural Immunity  Misconception

Natural immunity is often viewed as a biased, favourable alternative in this misconception. While getting infected with Covid-19 and naturally producing antibodies through the adaptive immune system is effective in mitigating future Covid risks, it’s a situation that’s neither worth the chance nor the risk. Based on false, inequal comparisons, comparing the mortality risks of a pathogen and its vaccine is like comparing apples and your neighbour’s dishwasher. Despite the intrinsic differences between a virus (that aims to colonise and reproduce in a host) and a vaccine (that aims to induce an immune response), statistical data also shows the vast differences in their effects. The US and the W.H.O. mortality rates for Covid-19 infections are 1.6% and 3.6% respectively. Moreover, a considerable proportion of those who are infected and recover are left with long-lasting and disabling side effects. The vaccine risks in comparison are far lesser, with only 0.0022% of those who received a vaccine reported to have died. However, it must be noted that the death isn’t directly linked to the vaccine and is a mandatory report of deaths in those who were vaccinated, not those who necessarily died of the vaccine.

Vaccines Contain Dangerous Chemicals + Vaccines Cause Autism – Misconception

There’s no denying that vaccines, like most medications, require additional chemicals to keep them stable and give them a shelf life. There’s also no denying the presence of mercury, formaldehyde, and aluminium, often cited as being dangerous chemicals, within some vaccines. However, while humans will die if they consume 100% ethanol, if that very ethanol is diluted to 40% and left to ferment, it goes great with a coke. In the same vein, while certain chemicals are used as preservatives and adjuvants, their concentration is too low to induce anything stronger than a weak allergic response at the site of administration. In fact, a study of over 1 million children in Australia concluded that the mercury-containing vaccine preservative Thiomersal could not be linked to autism. Finally, the published scientific article responsible for linking the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR) to autism by Andrew Wakefield in 1998 has been retracted from the journal it was published in (The Lancet) and undisclosed conflicts of interest on the author’s part have deemed the research illegible.

Vaccines Can Cause Infertility – Falsehood

Widespread concerns about the effects of the vaccine on male and female fertility have led to considerable vaccine hesitancy among the Western populations of the world. However, following an increasingly common trend associated with these misconceptions, the scientific evidence points to the opposite – that Covid infections could negatively affect human fertility in most stages of life, not vaccines. In fact, a study comparing 35,961 pregnant women with a control group of pre-COVID pregnant women, concluded that the vaccine didn’t increase the rate of either miscarriages or other adverse neonatal conditions. Furthermore, in the over 69,000 pregnant women that have been vaccinated, none showed any signs of harm to the foetuses. Instead, the babies already had developed mild immune responses against the virus when born. In men, the vaccine has no known impact on fertility either, with sperm counts unaffected by the mRNA vaccine. Ironically, the COVID-19 infection poses a risk of male fertility loss, especially in men with pre-existent circulatory issues.

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