Antivax: A Dangerous Movement | Teen Ink

Antivax: A Dangerous Movement

April 3, 2019
By mk805 SILVER, Tirana, Other
mk805 SILVER, Tirana, Other
8 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"I was saying and doing things that made no sense. All because I was too scared to drop my image." -Etika

What comes to your mind when you hear the word vaccine? Do you think of a safe way to improve the health of many a citizen, or do you think of a creation of Satan himself, that is by its very nature going to give you diseases? Well, lots of parents, especially on Facebook for whatever reason, seem to think the latter. The truth is, the rising number of anti-vaxxers is a dangerous group that puts other people at risk.

Lots of anti-vaxxers believe that the ingredients in vaccines are harmful toxins. Now, they are toxins, but the reason that they’re not harmful lies in the dosage. You see, the dose defines the poison, which is why drinking way too much water can essentially have the same effect. The ingredients in question that the parents are so concerned about are thimerosal and aluminum. According to the University of Oxford, thimerosal was removed from vaccines for environmental reasons, although there was no evidence to suggest that thimerosal has harmful effects (Oxford Vaccine Group 2018).

Additionally, Professor Stick, a science channel on YouTube, explains that “scientists decided to test if there was any linkage of thimerosal and autism and we continue to reach no correlation or causation between thimerosal and autism” (Stick 2016). As for aluminum, the dose is negligible, at 0.125 milligrams, when we consume about 30 milligrams every day through food and drink (Moffit 2018).

Anti-vaxxers are also claiming that vaccines don’t work, a belief that can harm more than they already do. During the recent measles outbreak in the United States, some anti-vaxxers on the “Vaccine Resistance Movement” Facebook group have claimed that “the measles vaccine had a 75% fail rate” (Facebook 2019), a statement which is demonstrably untrue. While vaccines will never work perfectly all the time, they often work as much as 99%. Vaccines such as the polio vaccine have been reported to work more than 99% of the time (Immunization Advisory Centre 2017). Of course, vaccines will never work on everyone, as everyone has different bodies and doctors might not be able to find a specific vaccine that meets those conditions, but an average success rate of about 96% is nothing to sneeze at.

Lots of anti-vaxxers claim that they don’t need vaccines because they have natural alternative medicines, such as essential oils or even salt lamps. While this can possibly help with minor diseases such as the common cold, it won’t do anything against something like polio. You see, a vaccine is not used to cure a disease, but rather to prevent the person from getting it later in their life. Essentially, vaccines introduce a weakened form of the disease in question, so that the human body will know how to protect itself if the real thing attacks. This means that while, yes, salt lamps and essential oils can help if your child has a mild fever, you’re not helping anyone when measles attacks.

Now we come to the greatest debate of all when it comes to vaccines: the autism debate. Much of the claim that vaccines lead to autism is linked to a paper which suggests that children that got the MMR, or measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, had a higher chance of developing pervasive developmental disorder, more commonly known as autism. This paper was proven to be fraudulent, and 10 of the original 13 authors have refuted and withdrawn their claims on the paper (Moffit 2018).

Thankfully, lots of people seem to be standing up to the antivax movement and getting vaccinations- especially teens. According to, some teenagers are going behind their parent’s backs and getting vaccinations on their own: “[But] now, as the children of the anti-vaxxers grow up, they appear to be searching for their own agency” (Joseph 2019). In Canada, it is now legal for teens to get vaccinations without their parents’ consent. This is a step in the right direction, as antivaxxers are putting the safety of several people at risk, and we need to defend ourselves against them.

All in all, antivaxxers make a lot of claims, many of which have already been proven to be untrue. I hope that in reading this essay, you learned about the effects of vaccines, and why they’re much more helpful than harmful. Please do everyone, including yourself, a favor, and vaccinate yourself to keep from getting sick from preventable diseases. Come on, and make the world a healthier, disease-free place.

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