Most people know John Oliver from his shows about Donald Trump. But I love it when he does sciences. I have mentioned his pieces on science journalism before in a blog I did on the topic relating to a new “cancer cure” and this week he dedicated his time to vaccinations. A topic we have covered before on our blog, here and in this piece about Trump and his ridiculous stance on scientific issues including vaccines.
Oliver’s piece is well researched and worth watching if you have doubts about vaccinations.
Being pregnant and having friends with little babies, I get that it is scary to inject a 2-month old with seven vaccines at once (that’s the standard schedule in Germany). You never know how they react – and I am not talking about the unnecessary and unfounded fear of autism (there is no link!!!), but strong responses to the vaccines. An (adult) friend of mine just recently contracted vaccination-rubella, meaning that a week after the shot she felt sick for a few days. But even if this happens to your child – what is the alternative? Instead of getting a milder vaccination-induced disease get the real deal? With much worse consequences? Like this italian boy, who due to leukaemia couldn’t be vaccinated but contracted the measles from his unvaccinated older brother and died.
And remember these reaction to the vaccine are rare and, even if unpleasant, they are a good sign. They show that your immune system is working and in the long term establishing a good memory in case of re-infection.
As for spacing out vaccinations – remember that if you delay the vaccination of your child there is a longer time frame in which your child is not protected from the diseases! Diseases that can have sever consequences like death (measles killed 134,200 people in 2015!). But not just your kids life is at stake – also that of immune-suppressed people like the italian boy that can not be vaccinated and need herd-immunity to be safe.
I also love the point Oliver makes about proving a negative. This is a constant struggle for us scientist. It is impossible to prove a negative. You can only eliminate certain factors – but never be 100% sure. But that doesn’t mean vaccines are not save – please trust in science. Vaccines have been excessively studied and will continue to be. No evidence for toxic ingredients, even if they have dangerous sounding names, and no scientific proof for a link to autism means vaccines are save!