Risks of Not Vaccinating May Change Anti-Vaccine Positions

Child raises sleeve of shirt as doctor administers vaccine

Though fraudulent claims that vaccines can cause autism have been proven false by multiple studies, some parents remain skeptical of the benefits of vaccines. The precise figure varies from state to state, but one 2011 study found that as many as 40% of parents either delayed or refused vaccines for their children.

Some parents who oppose vaccinations may mistrust their doctors or the vaccine schedule, while others may remain convinced that strong evidence points to the dangers of vaccines. A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that these parents may be more likely to vaccinate their children when they are educated about the dangers of failing to do so.

Parents Aware of Impact of Illness More Likely to Vaccinate

Zachary Horne, a University of Illinois graduate student, and his colleagues asked 315 participants about their opinions on controversial subjects, such as vaccinations. They then divided participants into three different groups. One group reviewed arguments in favor of vaccinations, while a second group reviewed pro-vaccination material as well as photographs showing the effects measles, mumps, and rubella can have on children. The final group received information on an unrelated topic.

Researchers then asked each participant to complete a survey about vaccinations. They found that showing people images of children affected by preventable illness was the most effective method of changing anti-vaccine views. The photographs had a significant effect on those participants who were most opposed to vaccinations.

Parents who refuse vaccinations for reasons not religious in nature typically do so out of concern for the safety and well-being of their children. According to the authors of the study, a greater awareness of the effects of preventable diseases may be more successful at activating parental concern than a direct challenge to the anti-vaccine position. This increased awareness may lead many of those opposed to vaccines to change their positions.

Risks of Not Vaccinating

The incidence of once-rare childhood diseases is steadily rising, and it is believed that this is largely due to the increasing number of children who have not been vaccinated. In 2014, there were three times as many cases of measles as there were in 2013. The CDC also received 28,660 reports of whooping cough in 2014—an 18% increase from the number of cases reported in 2013. A child who has not been vaccinated can easily contract one of these potentially life-threatening illnesses.


  1. Horne, Z., Powell, D., Hummel, J. E., & Holyoak, K. J. (2015). Countering anti-vaccination attitudes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1504019112
  2. Pertussis outbreak trends. (2015, March 11). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/outbreaks/trends.html
  3. Smith, P., Humiston, S., Marcuse, E., Zhao, Z., Dorell, C., Howes, C., & Hibbs, B. (2011). Parental delay or refusal of vaccine doses, childhood vaccination coverage at 24 months of age, and the Health Belief Model. Public Health Reports, 135-146.

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  • Redpill1

    August 8th, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    “Though fraudulent claims that vaccines can cause autism have been proven false by multiple studies, some parents remain skeptical of the benefits of vaccines.”
    Here are studies that directly link vaccine to not only Autism but to other neurological and immunological illness in children.
    -86 Research Papers Supporting the Vaccine/Autism Link: https://www.scribd(dot)com/doc/220807175/86-Research-
    -Gastrointestinal abnormalities in children with autistic disorder. The Journal of Pediatrics November 1999; 135(5):559-63
    -Colonic CD8 and γδ T-cell infiltration with epithelial damage in children with autism. The Journal of Pediatrics 2000; 138(3): 366-372
    -Intestinal Lymphocyte Populations in Children with Regressive Autism: Evidence for Extensive Mucosal Immunopatholog. Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003; 23(6): 504-517
    -Immune activation of peripheral blood and mucosal CD3 + lymphocyte 3 cytokine profiles in children with autism and gastrointestinal symptoms. Journal of Neuroimmunology 2005
    – Antibodies to Myelin Basic Protein in Children with Austic Behavior. Brain, Behavior and Immunity 1993; 7: 97-103
    -Elevated Levels of Measles Antibodies in Children with Autism. Pediatric Neurology 2003; 28(4): 1-3.
    -Dysregulated Innate Immune Responses in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders : Their Relationship to Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Dietary Intervention . Neuropsychobiology 2005; 51:77-85
    A two-phase study evaluating the relationship between Thimerosal-containing vaccine administration and the risk for an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in the United States- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3878266/
    -A positive association found between autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih(dot)gov/pubmed/21623535.
    -Commentary–Controversies surrounding mercury in vaccines: autism denial as impediment to universal immunisation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih(dot)gov/pubmed/25377033
    “Parents Aware of Illness’s Impact More Likely to Vaccinate”
    Over 50% of children have a chronic condition and 1 in 6 have a neurodevelomental disorder (aka vaccine caused brain injury). Autism and autoimmune disorders are skyrocketing. Injecting aluminum, mercury, aborted fetal tissue, formaldehyde, MSG, diseased monkey kidney, etc. does not bring health. Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997–2008.
    *U.S. CHILD CHRONIC DISEASE INCREASES* Increases coincide with the increase in the vaccine schedule.
    1976: 1 child in 30 was learning disabled
    →2013: 1 child in 6 is learning disabled.
    1980: 1 child in 27 had asthma
    →2013: 1 child in 9 has asthma.
    1990’s: 1 child in 555 developed autism
    →2013: 1 child in 50 develops autism.
    2001: 1 child in 500 had diabetes
    →2013: 1 child in 400 has diabetes.
    1953: CDC recommended 16 doses of 4 vaccines (smallpox, DPT) between two months and age six.
    1983: CDC recommended 23 doses of 7 vaccines (DPT, MMR, polio) between two months and age six.
    2013: CDC recommended 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age six and 69 doses of 16 vaccines between day of birth and age 18.
    -100 Compiled Studies on Vaccine Dangers: http://www.activistpost(dot)com/2011/09/100-compiled-studies-on-vaccine-dangers.html
    -30 SCIENTIFIC STUDIES THAT DEMONSTRATE VACCINES CAN CAUSE AUTISM by Lisa Joyce Goes: whale.to/v/30_scientific_studies.html
    -“Risks of Not Vaccinating”. The only study reference that is cogent to this article is the one on Pertussis. Two recent studies indicate that the people injected with the Pertussis Vaccines are carriers. In plain language, they are infecting the population which has created numerous outbreaks over the years. The studies are: Acellular Pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model,” used infant baboons to test the hypothesis that “current acellular pertussis vaccines fail to prevent colonization and transmission” of B. Pertussis. (there is no vaccine for Bordetella Pertussis virus) http://www.pnas (dot)org/content/111/2/787. Lead researcher, Tod Merkel of the FDA stated in the NYT last year the following quote: when exposed to B. Pertussis after recently getting vaccinated, you could be an asymptomatic carrier and infect others, saying:
    “When you’re newly vaccinated, you are an asymptomatic carrier, which is good for you, but not for the population.”
    Current study: Whooping cough resurgence due to vaccinated people not knowing they’re infectious? clinicalnews(dot)org/2015/06/24/study-whooping-cough-resurgence-due-to-vaccinated-people-not-knowing-theyre-infectious/comment-page-1/. From study/article: “a detailed epidemiological model of whooping cough transmission to conclude that acellular vaccines may well have contributed to — even exacerbated — the recent pertussis outbreak by allowing infected individuals without symptoms to unknowingly spread pertussis multiple times in their lifetimes.
    ‘There could be millions of people out there with just a minor cough or no cough spreading this potentially fatal disease without knowing it,’ said Althouse. ‘The public health community should act now to better assess the true burden of pertussis infection.’
    -Parents who chose to either vaccinate selectively or not at all are far more educated on the subject matter than the average medical doctor. If you read the CDC’s Pink Books on all the childhood illnesses you will discover that it is expected that a percentage of children/adults will become infected by the virus in the vaccines thus making them contagious. Attenuation has been used as a means to say the viruses are weak but even Dr. Maurice Hilleman, who developed over 400 vaccines has stated that at least 20% of the children injected with a live virus vaccine will become sick. If they are sick, they are contagious. Attenuation has always been proven difficult according to immunologist who say that they cannot stop the viruses from mutating which makes attenuation at best difficult and with unpredictable results. This is what parents who don’t vaccinate know and there isn’t a single person on the planet who can convince them to do so. Especially when the information that they are reading is coming directly from the CDC’s and the pharmaceutical companies own database.
    FDA Meeting. Human Tumors for Vaccine Manufacture: https://www.scribd(dot)com/doc/246682536/FDA-Meeting-Human-Tumors-for-Vaccine-Manufacture#scribd. The researchers admit in this transcript they don’t know if the children will develop cancer and they speak openly about how they are going to spin this for the public.

  • Shirley

    August 11th, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    We have started thinking more in terms of what the vaccines can do to us but have stopped thinking about the fact that yes, this could be true but what are the consequences of NOT getting vaccinated against these diseases? Aren’t many of these potential outcomes just as dangerous?

  • Susan

    August 11th, 2015 at 6:39 PM

    Vaccine efficacy is frequently over-stated and the dangers and spread of the illnesses they purportedly prevent are wildly overstated. Don’t buy into the fear mongering and research as much as possible about the money behind these “scientific studies” and “recommendations”. The vaccine industry was worth 10 BILLION US dollars in 2005 – it is expected to reach 41 BILLION in 2015. Vaccines are not about health, they are about money and profits for mega corporations which own and operate politicians in many countries, but especially the USA where the vaccine schedule recommends twice the number of vaccines as other countries, especially in Europe where free thinking is still possible and no direct-to-consumer advertising of medication is allowed. Some links to reflect upon:
    Here is a telling piece outlining Big Pharma fines for lying and putting people’s lives at risk through their deliberate promotion of dangerous products – these massive fines are factored into their budgets and barely cause a ripple in financial statements. projects.propublica.org/graphics/bigpharma
    And finally, on Gardasil, the most galling attempt to scare people into putting their children’s health and lives at risk – as explained by a Merck researcher himself who can’t bear the guilt any longer: healthimpactnews.com/2014/mercks-former-doctor-predicts-that-gardasil-will-become-the-greatest-medical-scandal-of-all-time/

  • Maja V.

    November 24th, 2016 at 12:05 PM

    There are many advances in medicine today, one of them being vaccinations. There are many parents who do not vaccinate their children due to many controversies going around about the horrible side effects and vaccinations not working. Before vaccinations, many individuals died do to deadly diseases that could not be cured. Vaccinations came into place and have saved millions of lives all around the world with immunizations. Although there may be mild reactions to vaccines, the benefits outweigh the risks 100%. Vaccinating children help the child not receive a deadly disease, help the community and other individuals who may not be able to receive vaccinations. The risks and effects of getting a disease are far more extensive and deadly than receiving a vaccine to help cure it. Vaccinations protect children and are helping protect future generations as well.

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