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Do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?

A vaccine is a weakened form of a pathogen that our body can use to train its immune system without having to suffer negative health effects. Vaccination programs have radically reduced the number of deaths from infectious diseases, including diphtheria, measles, mumps, and rubella. Nonetheless, some skeptics avoid vaccinating themselves and their children, concerned with the potential risks of vaccines.

Implications to Other Questions

Do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?
Does homeopathy work?

Experts and Influencers

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Experts In Science

Peter McIntyre    Professor of Infectious Diseases
Opposition to mass childhood vaccination is a world-wide phenomenon, particularly in industrialised countries. Unfounded claims about vaccination are perpetuated by parental lobby groups and individual spokespeople, some of whom have a medical or scientific background. This article focuses on one such spokesperson who has achieved particular notoriety. Dr. Viera Scheibner is a retired micropalaeontologist, without any formal training in health-related sciences...
26 Jun 2003    Source

Ian Frazer    Inventor of Cervical Cancer Vaccine
A quarter of all cancers are caused by infections, including hepatitis B and C andthe Epstein Barr virus. If we could prevent these infections, we could think about getting rid of these cancers... We, on average, live 25 years longer than we did 100 years ago and most of that extra 25 years is due to the control of infectious diseases and most of that control is due to vaccinations.
17 Aug 2006    Source

Experts In Health

US Department of Health & Human Services    (HHS) Government Department
Vaccines have been so successful in preventing disease in the US that in recent years, the annual number of reports to VAERS have exceeded the total number of reports of routine childhood vaccine-preventable disease. This may lead some people to believe that the vaccines are dangerous. [In reality] the risk of a serious adverse reaction to an immunization is extremely small. The risk of the disease itself is substantially more serious than the risk of the immunization.
23 Apr 2007    Source

Patti Neighmond    Medical Journalist
Much of this refusal [to vaccinate] has to do with perceived vaccine safety issues, such as purported associations between vaccines and autism, attention deficit disorder, seizures and epilepsy. None of these concerns have been upheld in research. In fact, all scientific studies show vaccines to be highly effective and safe, with only rare, moderate, adverse side effects.
26 May 2009    Source

Experts In Politics

Benjamin Franklin    Founding Father of United States
In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.
01 Jan 1788    Source

Experts In Business

Bill Gates    Microsoft Cofounder, Philanthropist
Providing greater access to existing vaccines and making new vaccines available quickly could save 8 million lives by 2020. ... I’ve given kids the polio vaccine myself – it’s just a couple drops in the mouth. It’s quite magical knowing you are helping prevent a terrible, disfiguring disease. As a parent, I have a choice to provide my children with something that has the potential to prevent illness or even death. I want parents everywhere to have that same chance.
09 Feb 2010    Source

Experts In Science

Viera Scheibner    Geology Professor; Prominent Modern Medicine Skeptic
I did not find it difficult to conclude that there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines or any kind are effective in preventing the infectious diseases they are supposed to prevent. Further, adverse effects are amply documented and are far more significant to public health than any adverse effects of infectious diseases. Immunizations not only [were ineffective], they caused more suffering and more deaths than has any other human activity in the entire history of medical intervention.
01 Nov 1993    Source

Experts In Health

Sherri Tenpenny    Homeopathist, Osteopath
A benchmark in a civilized society is the absence of infectious diseases, a doctrine that emerged during the pre-antibiotic era. Public health officials attribute low infection rates to mandatory vaccination policies rather than giving credit to improved personal hygiene and modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing. It is time for the truth about vaccines to be widely known. Vaccine safety has not been proven. Vaccines provide false security about protection. Vaccines can cause harm.
10 Jul 2009    Source

Experts In Media

Jenny McCarthy    Actress
Mostly Disagree
I do believe sadly it's going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it's their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They're making a product that's s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we'll use it. It shouldn't be polio versus autism.
01 Apr 2009    Source

Experts In Homeopathy

Rudolf Verspoor    Homeopathist
What emerges is a consensus that vaccination is not consistent with the principles of homeopathy, even if it is a crude application of the law of similars. Clinical evidence further suggests that vaccination holds serious short and long-term consequences both because of its effect upon the miasms, and because some constitutional types are particularly susceptible to vaccination shock.
14 Feb 1998    Source

Sub-Arguments Of This Expert:
Does homeopathy work?

Patty Smith-Verspoor    Homeopathist
There is a belief generally that the usual flu vaccine is still worth it despite the obvious drawbacks. However, there is little or no acknowledgement of a safer and more effective alternative, mainly because of ignorance, prejudice and the power of drug companies (in terms of advertising and control over expensive research). There IS an alternative. Homeopathy - the safe, effective medicine.
01 Jan 2000    Source

Experts In Entertainment

Bill Maher    Political T.V. Host, Comedian
(Larry King interview) Maher: the defense against disease is to have a strong immune system. A flu shot just compromises your immune system. King: So you don't take any western medicine, don’t take an aspirin? Maher: Never, an aspirin no. Thousands of people die from aspirin every year.
15 Dec 2005    Source

Experts In Health

Ron Paul    U.S. Politician, Libertarian
A controversy over vaccines, specifically the smallpox vaccine, is brewing in Washington. The administration is considering ordering mass inoculations for more than one million military personnel and civilian medical workers, ostensibly to thwart a smallpox outbreak before it occurs. Yet dangerous side-effects from the vaccine – ranging from mild flu symptoms to gangrene, encephalitis, and even death – cause many to question the wisdom and need for such inoculations.
10 Dec 2002    Source


Add Your TakeOnIt (click to expand, no login required)
2 Points      MTC      23 Feb 2013      Stance on Question: Agree
I believe the science on this issue.

The fact that I never missed a vaccination when I was young, and I have an autistic spectrum condition does not factor into it. Correlation alone does not imply causation. Anecdotal evidence is possibly the weakest evidence there is.

2 Points      blacktrance      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
The belief that vaccines cause autism is not only not grounded in reality, but dangerous to public health.

0 Points      marissa benicke      21 Dec 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
my brother was a normal little boy. then he got a vaccine and later, he was diagnosed with autism.

0 Points      Benja      22 Dec 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
"my brother was a normal little boy. then he got a vaccine and later, he was diagnosed with autism."
See The Anecdotal Pitch.

-1 Point      edc      02 Jun 2009      Stance on Question: Agree
I believe vaccination is a valid and significant way of preventing the spread of disease. However, i am constantly confronted by people who believe the risks of vaccination are too great. So great they refuse to treat their own children. I believe this is an ignorant and selfish practice, which not only endangers the child but puts a community at risk. To me the theory makes sense, expose the body to a weakened form of the disease and let the body "practice" fighting it.

0 Points      Coco      19 May 2016      General Comment
I think that the government has all of you fooled. These vaccines that they produce are dangerous, more dangerous than the diseases they are supposedly supposed to fight against. When given the vaccine for measels you are only immune from it for 4 years. If you were to actually get the measels it would provide immunity for up to 20 years. So the pharmaceutical companies and the government work together. They know all of the deadly toxins that go into producing these vaccines and do not care because it makes them money. So they scare people into getting vaccines because if not they loose out on money. The government also gave companies who produce vaccines total liability protection for injuries or death caused by government mandated vaccines. So if you or your child get a vaccine and suffer from one of the harmful side effects or causes death then you can't do anything about it. So maybe think about what exactly is being put into our bodies and who's is telling us we have to before we deciding whether or not it should be a law or calling people selfish.