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Wendy Choi

Mrs. Stallings

AP Biology (Period 5)

12 May 2008

The Benefits and Dangers of Vaccination

Vaccination, also known as immunization, is to receive an injection of prepared killed

microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is

administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease. Immunization

is a subject that evokes very strong opinions and usually stirs up heated debate as to their

efficacy, safety, and reliability. The main questions parents have to answer are whether to

immunize or not, and if so, when and with which ones. In an overview, the common benefits of

being vaccinated is the total elimination of diseases, the prevention of pandemics and epidemics,

an obvious decrease in health care costs, and the prevention of harmful side-effects of certain

diseases. However, an English doctor Sarah Myhill shares her view: “Vaccinations are a two

edged sword because whilst they have the potential to prevent illness, they can certainly cause

flares of CFS. Indeed I have several patients with CFS dated from vaccinations such as flu or

hepatitis B. However usually this has been on the background of overwhelming stress” (Myhill).

Some risks and contradictions to immunization includes the suggestion that a routine

immunization should be deferred during acute febrile illness, atopic dermatitis or acute skin rash,

“altered” newborns under six month of age or undeveloped fetus during pregnancy,

hypersensitivity to any vaccine component, cases where the patient is undergoing

immunotherapy, and cases where the patient has an altered immunity.


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One vaccination that is proven harmful to patients is the MMR vaccine, which maybe the

cause of autism should not be used on any child. In any case, it seems to be a complete waste of

time giving rubella to boys and mumps to girls. Girls do not need rubella vaccination until they

are sexually mature but by that time they will have had a good chance to have the infection and

be naturally immune. Measles is a nasty illness and there probably is a case for vaccination

young, but not in combination with the other viruses. Moreover, Polio vaccination gives

immunity against polio, but not other enteroviruses, the major cause of post viral syndrome. Dr.

Myhill provides the statistics: “…it has been estimated that over 20% of people who get

glandular fever never recover their full energy levels” (Myhill).

Another existing controversy was the Mercury-Vaccine Issue, began in 1997 by Frank

Pallone, a Democratic congressman who demands the FDA to “‘compile a list of drugs and foods

that contain intentionally introduced mercury compounds and [to] provide a quantitative and

qualitative analysis of the mercury compounds in the list’” (Mehl-Madrona). The 49.6% mercury

by weight thimerosal, was used as a vaccine preservative since the 1930s, and was viewed as a

safe, reliable, and somewhat drab defender against bacterial and fungal contamination until June

of 1999, when the Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) completes an 18-

month inquiry into the risks and benefits of using thimerosal in vaccines. Evidence has proved

that an infant six months old would receive 75 micrograms of mercury from three doses of DTP,

75 micrograms from three doses of Hib, and 37.5 micrograms from three doses of hepatitis B

xaccine; for a total of 187.5 micrograms of mercury. Thus, the FDA had already promised to

review applications for thimerosal-free hepatitis B vaccine within 30 days. These researches are

administered more often now for all vaccinations before widespread uses, thereby double

ensuring human protection and health concerns.


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Works Cited

Campbell, Neil, Jane B Reece, Martha R. Talylor, and Eric J Simon. Biology Concepts &

Connections. 5th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006.

Jones, Eric. "Immunizations." NaturoDoc LLC 10 May 2008

<http://www.naturodoc.com/library/children/immunizations.htm>.

Mehl-Madrona, Lewis. “Vaccines: Childhood Vaccinations: Mercury in Vaccines, Thimerosal

Controversy, Possible Links to Autism in Children” The Healing Center On-Line 2008 10

May 2008 <http://www.healing-arts.org/children/vaccines/vaccines-mercury.htm>

Myhill, Sarah. "Vaccination - The Pros and Cons ." The Environmental Illness Resource 2008

10 May 2008 <http://www.ei-resource.org/articles/general-environmental-health-

articles/vaccination-%11-the-pros-and-cons/>.

"Vaccination." Wikipedia 10 May 2008 10 May 2008

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccination>.