The hoax that vaccines cause autism and other false beliefs - The Province

The hoax that vaccines cause autism and other false beliefs - The Province

The vaccines are biological products artificially created to expose a subject to a specific antigen and thus generate an effective and safe immune response stable over time. Around him, many myths have been created, highlighting the risk of autism with his administration. A hoax not only false but especially dangerous, both for the unvaccinated person and for the community in general.

When a vaccine is inoculated, a mechanism is generated that, in the face of successive exposure, blocks and controls the microorganism or the toxins produced by it rapidly and specifically, preventing it from generating disease. It is the primary response.

When a certain number of individuals acquire enough immunity to grant protection to the rest of individuals in a population, there is group or collective immunity that decreases the colonization and transmissibility of the microorganism in question. This is where vaccines play their most important role. "By vaccinating different individuals against a specific disease, we block transmission to the extent that the number of vaccinated grows and from a certain threshold, there is control of the disease." If the population stopped getting vaccinated, the progressive loss of immunity of the older ones would cause the new unvaccinated young members to return to be susceptible to the disease, and may reappear and even cause serious epidemics, such as what happened with measles, "explains the doctor Nieves Jiménez, specialist in Internal Medicine of Hospital Perpetuo Socorro.

Currently, vaccines pass very strict safety controls with study of adverse reactions during their development phases and with follow-up programs after their commercialization. In spite of everything, there are still doubts and errors in daily practice.

Multiple studies and even the World Health Organization have rejected that the thiomersal (ethylmercury) contained in the vaccines can produce autism, reaffirming that they are safe. The first alert came from the FDA, the acronym of the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, which warned about the use of methylmercury (not ethylmercury, which is less toxic) and that led to the withdrawal of thiomersal without provided no scientific evidence of its risk based on the precautionary principle that should govern medical practice.

The implication of mercury in autism was born of an article by Redwood and Bernad which speculated on the similarity of the symptoms of autism and mercury poisoning. Since then, studies have emerged with very heterogeneous results that show no relationship between this agent and neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2007, the editorial of the New England Journal of Medicine said: "The idea that thimerosal caused autism has led to the development of a cottage industry of charlatans They offer false hope, partly in the form of mercury chelating agents (substances that treat toxic heavy metal poisoning). In August 2005, a 5-year-old autistic child died of an arrhythmia caused by the injection of the EDTA chelating agent. Although the notion that thimerosal causes autism has already been ruled out by quite a few excellent epidemiological studies, about 10,000 autistic children in the United States receive mercury chelates every year. "

In addition to autism, There is a false myth that adjuvants included in vaccines cause diseases. The reality is that when a new product is created, its security is checked before and after its commercialization. Both the adjuvants marketed in previous preparations and the new ones have demonstrated the absence of relationship with diseases or serious adverse effects. It is true with respect to aluminum that, in only a few circumstances, vaccination has been associated with a local macrophagic myofasciitis (demonstrated by biopsy), but without any systemic manifestation. It must be borne in mind that in nature it is included more abundantly than in the vaccines themselves.

Nor is it true that the immune system saturates if exposed to so many vaccines because children are naturally exposed to more antigens than by administering this preventive method. When a vaccine that includes several antigens is commercialized, it has been previously verified that the immune response is effective for each of them and the absence of interference with other vaccines in the calendar.

It is also common the doubt that "If a certain disease does not exist in my country, why do I need to get vaccinated?". The truth is that is still necessary since no vaccine-preventable disease, except smallpox, is eradicated and in an interconnected society there are multiple occasions in which there may be exposure to the disease.


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