Tags: vaccine | myths | debunk | mayo

Mayo Clinic Debunks Vaccine Myths

Wednesday, 25 April 2012 11:39 AM

Some parents are opting not to vaccinate their infants against preventable diseases falsely believing the shots may pose more risks than benefits to their babies.
To counter such false claims, Mayo Clinic researchers have published a new study that aims to debunk three myths about childhood inoculations. Among the misperceptions the Mayo Clinic explodes: The false belief that babies’ systems can’t handle the number of vaccines given today (in fact, scientific studies overwhelmingly show that they can); shots can cause autoimmune diseases (in fact, expert research has repeatedly found they don’t); and natural immunity is safer and better (in fact, it’s not).
The study, published in the journal Human Immunology, was released to coincide with National Infant Immunization Week.
"Thousands of children are at increased risk because of under-vaccination, and outbreaks of highly transmissible diseases have occurred" said lead author Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic vaccine specialist. "Primary care physicians have less time than most to explain the scientific case for vaccination. This article gives them the background and tools to debunk some of the major myths."
Poland and Mayo pediatrician Dr. Robert Jacobson said the most common immunity-related misconceptions unnecessarily "fuel patient and parental concerns, questions and fears about vaccines."
They explained that the number of active molecules in infant vaccines is far lower than ever before. As a result, vaccines are not only safe, but children receive a fraction of actual antigen compared to children in the past.
They also point to a recent review of 1,200 articles by the Institute of Medicine that failed to find any autoimmune side effect from vaccines.
Finally, they noted that while natural immunity does protect children as well, the risk of illness and death is far higher than with a vaccine.
The article said the anti-vaccine movement has spread inaccurate information that has put children for vaccine-preventable diseases that are avoidable, including whooping cough and measles. He noted the risk of death for measles is three in 1,000 without vaccination, while the risk of death from the measles vaccination is zero.
"We want to offer a user-friendly guide for doctors, but also issue a call to action," Poland says. "We can now show that children have died because of under-vaccination and that diseases have spread needlessly because of this trend."

© HealthDay

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Scientific experts offer up the truth about childhood vaccines, to counter common misperceptions.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 11:39 AM
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