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If you thought Andrew Jeremy Wakefield’s wild claims on vaccines were ridiculous, then the following is sure to surprise you.
To explain Wakefield is the former discredited physician and academic who was struck off the medical register due to his connection to the Lancet MMR autism fraudulent study. The study was conducted in 1998, falsely alleging a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and autism.
Years later, people are again creating non-science-based opinions or better yet, nonsense around vaccines, stating a link between the flu vaccine and COVID-19 deaths exists.
This came from a recent statement that announced, we should not take any form of vaccine, even the flu vaccination because all patients who had the coronavirus and displayed severe symptoms; had allegedly received the flu shot. According to the statement, the reasoning behind this is that people’s immune systems will no longer be able to work, if we rely on medication and vaccines.
Determined to obtain credible knowledge on the subject, the Newcastillian – Online News approached the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
Acting Executive Director at the NICD, Professor Adrian Puren states, “There is no evidence, as far as we know, that those who had poor clinical outcomes, including death, had received the vaccine for influenza.”
Moreover, he highlights, “The purpose of the flu vaccine is to immunise against a distinct and different pathogen. The reason for poor outcomes, including death, in COVID disease, is the result of older age and the presence of co-morbidities such as respiratory disease, hypertension, diabetes as examples. Vaccines do not cross-interfere by reducing immunity.”
He affirms vaccines play an instrumental role in the fight against protecting communities against infections. The Professor expounds even further by saying, “Several examples exist to demonstrate the utility of vaccines in improving public health, for example, the eradication of smallpox and controlling of polio and measles. The HPV vaccine has yielded important reductions in HPV in circulation, leading to marked reductions in cervical cancer. Similarly, the HBV (hepatitis B) vaccine will lead to a reduction in liver cirrhosis and cancer.”
When looking at the misconceptions around vaccines, Professor Puren points out; vaccine hesitancy is one of the top 10 global health threats. He says this is backed up by the World Health Organization (WHO). “A consequence of this is that members of the public may become vaccine-hesitant or refuse taking up the vaccine. The consequences are that one can end up with pools of unvaccinated people leading to vulnerability, to infections and ongoing transmission.”
He continues, “Measles is a good example where vaccine hesitancy in certain countries has led to large outbreaks, hospitalisations and death. The measles vaccine is one of the most effective vaccines available.”
Furthermore, the Professor states some of the misconceptions surrounding vaccines stem from the publication linking autism to the measles vaccine, social media, and government policies which allow for unclear exemptions, e.g. religious reasons.
With all the above-mentioned in mind, Professor Puren concludes there is no single cause for the misconceptions surrounding vaccines. Nevertheless, he emphasises it is important for people to remember, vaccines are safe and effective, and the processes leading to the introduction of a vaccine as a public health intervention are transparent.
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