Immunization myths and realities: Responding to arguments against immunization

Authors

  • CR MacIntyre,

    1. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead and
    2. University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • J Leask

    1. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead and
    2. University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • †Expert bodies around the world have set different guidelines for safe levels of mercury consumption. The US Environmental Protection Authority has set the lowest cut-off point at 0.7 µg of mercury per kilogram of bodyweight per week, while the WHO has stipulated a higher level, 3.3 µg/kg of bodyweight per week. Australia follows the WHO recommendations, as these levels are still considered to be as much as 10-fold below the levels which pose any health risk.

CR MacIntyre, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. Fax: +61 2 9845 3082; email: RainaM@chw.edu.au

Abstract

Abstract:  As vaccination programs continue to successfully control more and more infectious diseases, and the effects of these diseases become less visible, there has been increased focus on adverse events following immunization. Vaccines have been falsely implicated in the causation of a range of conditions, especially those which affect infants and young children, and whose aetiology is unknown, poorly understood or multifactorial. This paper explores some of the common immunization myths that clinicians may face. It is essential that health professionals have access to accurate information and are able to respond appropriately to parental concerns. This involves good communication; listening, empathy and tailoring advice to the specific concerns of the parent. Finally, health professionals need to provide consistent messages based on solid research evidence.

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