Updated: Aug 23
Vaccinations began being used in the early 1800ís. The inoculations have had several different methods of administration from shots and nasal sprays to thumb prongs.
The products being delivered range from viruses and bacteria that are live, attenuated or dead.
The controversies over giving vaccines have been around since the beginning of the history of vaccinations. In the beginning vaccines werenít as safe as they are today. But even today there are groups of people who are unsure of the safety of certain vaccinations and there are some research studies to show that these vaccines may not be 100% safe as was once thought. However, for most of the vaccinations their safety level may be greater than the risks of contracting the disease.
The theory behind using vaccinations is to provide immunity to the herd ñ or entire population of a country ñ so that the virus or bacteria doesnít have a chance proliferate.
Today there are several vaccinations that continue to have controversy over vaccines. The three biggest controversies in the field of pediatrics and public health vaccines are the HPV, MMR and chickenpox vaccines.
In 1998 Dr. Wakefield and his research partners published an article in The Lancet reporting a link between the combination vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella with the development of autism. The original theory was that the combination of the vaccines changed the permeability of the intestinal walls allowing proteins into the bloodstream that ultimately caused the damage to the brain cells that resulted in autism.
The original theory appears to have been flawed but the number of children who developed autistic type behaviors after having received the MMR vaccine increased drastically in both the UK and US after the combination vaccine was introduced in those respective countries. Most importantly those introductions and increased diagnosis happened approximately 10 years apart.
Although there are research studies that have reportedly proven that the MMR is completely safe their statistics are also under dispute. A couple of these studies were financed by the companies that manufacture the vaccine combination which brings their results into question.
Another controversy over vaccines is the varicella vaccine that is given to prevent chicken pox. There has been evidence that infants, who are most at risk for the severe side effects of chickenpox are also most at risk for stroke after a varicella vaccine.
The third vaccine that has received press is the HPV vaccine used to prevent human papillomavirus, linked with cervical cancer. To date the vaccine has minimal side effects, except for soreness at the side of injection and has been 99-100% effective against the transmission of some of the HPV viruses and genital warts.
However, the controversy lies not around the administration or side effects of the vaccine but rather the social repercussions from the vaccination. Many groups of parents and advocates feel that the vaccine will encourage promiscuity and are angered over the thought of immunizing their pre-teen daughters against a sexually transmitted disease. There is also a common misconception that the vaccine will prevent against all types of HPV or sexually transmitted diseases.
The History of Vaccines: History of Anti-Vaccination Movements
Expert-Reviews.com: Current Controversies in the USA Regarding Vaccine Safety
Boston University: HPV Vaccine Controversy
NPR: HPV Vaccine: The Science Behind the Controversy
The Oschsner Journal: Childhood Immunization Controversy
CNS Drugs: Autism and Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination: Controversy Laid to Rest
The Chiropractic Resource Organization: The Infant Vaccination Controversy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Concerns about Autism