Learn the Risks of Falling for Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
Take the infographic about the number of vaccine doses children in the United States normally get.
It is designed into making you think that kids get 72 doses of vaccines, scaring you and trying to reinforce the myth that kids get too many vaccines.
Have you seen and fallen for that trick? Did you ever think to actually count the total vaccine doses they list? As you can see above, it doesn’t come out to 72 doses…
But why do they do it? If they really think their “vaccines contain toxic chemicals” argument is convincing, then would it matter if the number of vaccine doses was 11 or 53 or 72? Why inflate it to make it wound scarier?
Still, however you want to count the number of doses of vaccines kids get today, one thing is crystal clear – they get protection from more vaccine-preventable diseases.
In 1983, kids may have only have gotten 11 doses of vaccines, but many still died from Hib pneumonia and meningitis, epiglotitis (Hib), pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rotavirus, chicken pox, and meningococcemia, etc.
“for those trained in pediatrics in the 1970s, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) was a horror.”
This image that has been floating around the Internets conveys a lot of information, both about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. And about the propaganda being pushed by the anti-vaccine movement.
A lot has changed over the last four generations…
Four Generations of Vaccine Preventable Diseases
In the United States, we have seen:
1949 – the last smallpox outbreak
1970s – the last outbreak of respiratory diphtheria
1979 – endemic polio was declared eliminated
1979 – smallpox was declared eradicated
2000 – endemic measles was declared eliminated
2000- neonatal tetanus was declared eliminated
2004 – endemic rubella and congenital rubella syndrome were declared eliminated
2009 – endemic respiratory diphtheria was declared eliminated
But there hasn’t been as much change as some folks think.
We don’t even have 69 vaccines available to give children today!
And while 200+ vaccines are being tested or are in the “pipeline,” very few will end up on the childhood immunization schedule. For example, many of these are therapeutic vaccines to treat cancer, allergies, and other conditions. And a lot of the other pipeline vaccines are for the same infectious disease, including 36 vaccines being tested to prevent or treat HIV and 25 to prevent the flu.
So how many vaccines do kids actually get?
Kids today routinely get 13 vaccines to protect them from 16 vaccine-preventable diseases. More than 13 vaccines are available, but some aren’t used in the United States and some are only used in special situations or for high risk kids.
13 vaccines, including DTaP, IPV (polio), hepatitis B, Hib, Prevnar 13, rotavirus, MMR, Varivax (chicken pox), hepatitis A, Tdap, HPV, MCV 4 (meningococcal vaccine), and influenza
protection against 16 vaccine-preventable diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chicken pox, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, HPV, rotavirus, Hib, and flu
about 28 doses of those vaccines by age two years
about 35 doses of those vaccines by age five years
as few as 23 individual shots by age five years if your child is getting combination vaccines, like Pediarix or Pentacel and Kinrix or Quadracel and Proquad
about 54 doses of those vaccines by age 18 years, with a third of that coming from yearly flu shots
How do you get a number like 69?
You can boost your count to make it look scarier by counting the DTaP, MMR, and Tdap vaccines as three separate vaccines each (even though they aren’t available as individual vaccines anymore). That quickly turns 8 shots into “24 vaccines.”
You can’t count them each as three vaccines today, but just as one when mom, grandma and great-grandma got them. If you are counting individual components of those vaccines, then great-grandma didn’t just get two vaccines, especially when you consider that she almost certainly would have gotten multiple doses of the DPT vaccine.
Paradoxically, even more antigens have been taken off the schedule with the removal of the smallpox and DPT vaccines. In 1960, kids got exposed to 3,217 different antigens from the smallpox, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and whole cell pertussis vaccines. All of today’s vaccines on the schedule expose them to just 177 different antigens!
Why does that matter? It is the antigens that are stimulating the immune system, so if you were really concerned about a number, that would be the one to look at.
More Vaccines Equal More Protection
Of course, the number of vaccines kids get and how they have increased over time is very important. But not in they way anti-vaccine folks like to think.
It is important because kids today are protected against and don’t have to worry about the consequences of many more life-threatening diseases, like bacterial meningitis (Hib and the pneumococcal bacteria), epiglottitis (Hib), liver failure and liver cancer (hepatitis B), severe dehydration (rotavirus), and cervical cancer (HPV), etc.
If you think kids get too many vaccines today, then you have no idea what things were like in the pre-vaccine era.