Vaccines and Autism ? Embrace the facts not the myths !

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Despite all the fantastic advances in immunization over recent decades, 1.5 million children still die annually from vaccine-preventable diseases. And not all of our advances are secure. Last year 25 countries reported a net decrease in immunization coverage since 2010.There are a number of reasons for this. In some countries, consistent supply and cold storage are persisting challenges. In other cases, vaccines are available but myths around them discourage parents from immunizing their children. We need to bust myths and promote the benefits of immunization more widely.


Here are five key facts about immunization.

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Fact 1: Immunization through vaccination is the safest way to protect against disease.

Whatever you might read or hear, vaccines produce an immune response similar to that produced by the natural infection, but without the serious risks of death or disability connected with natural infection.

Fact 2: It is always best to get vaccinated, even when you think the risk of infection is low.

Deadly diseases that seem to have been all but eradicated have a nasty habit of making a come-back when immunization rates drop – as we see with the recent measles outbreaks across Europe. Only by making sure everyone gets their jabs can we keep the lid permanently on vaccine-preventable diseases. We should not rely on people around us to stop the spread of disease – we all have a responsibility to do what we can.

Fact 3: Combined vaccines are safe and beneficial.

Giving several vaccines at the same time has no negative effect on a child’s immune system. It reduces discomfort for the child, and saves time and money. Children are exposed to more antigens from a common cold than they are from vaccines.

Fact 4: There is no link between vaccines and autism.

There is no scientific evidence to link the MMR vaccine with autism or autistic disorders. This unfortunate rumour started with a single 1998 study which was quickly found to be seriously flawed, and was retracted by the journal that published it.

Fact 5: If we stop vaccination, deadly diseases will return.

Even with better hygiene, sanitation and access to safe water, infections still spread. When people are not vaccinated, infectious diseases that have become uncommon can quickly come back to haunt us.
When people have questions about vaccines they should ask their health providers and check accurate websites for information. Vaccine Safety Net, a global network of vaccine safety websites certified by WHO, provides easy access to accurate and trustworthy information on vaccines. The network has 47 member websites in 12 languages, and reaches more than 173 million people every month with credible information on vaccine safety, helping to counter harmful misinformation.

By : World Health Organization

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