Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Vaccines are probably the safest and most effective medical intervention available, so why do anti-vaxers lie about them


Why does anyone lie?

Anti-vaxers lie for the same reason as other people – for personal benefit.

Many anti-vaxers claim that there is an international conspiracy of doctors and researchers, as if all of the doctors and researchers, or even the pediatric doctors and researchers, in the world could agree on much of anything. When you realize how ridiculously large this conspiracy would be, how much a doctor or researcher would gain from providing valid information to expose such a conspiracy, and how aggressively law enforcement would punish those behind such a conspiracy, you understand the use of ridiculous is appropriate as a description of the conspiracy theory.

This is just another example of some people thinking they know more than everyone else, based on a lack of understanding. This feeds the over-inflated egos of anti-vaxers.

The smallpox vaccine has saved hundreds of millions of lives. Anti-vaxers opposed the smallpox vaccine and delayed the eradication of smallpox. Anti-vaxers helped smallpox kill people..

Our children are no longer vaccinated against smallpox, because smallpox has been wiped out by vaccines. Millions of children’s lives, and adult lives, are saved every year by the smallpox vaccine, without even giving it to children, because enough people rejected the lies of anti-vaxers.

Vaccines continue to save millions of lives every year, in spite of opposition by anti-vaxers.

There is plenty of research showing that vaccines are effective and safe, but to give the single clearest example of the benefit of vaccines, look at the following paper from JAMA. The Journal of the American Medical Association is one of the most respected medical publications in the world. Use any search engine to find a list of the most respected medical journals and you will find JAMA near the top.

Look at the decrease in the rates of illness and the rates of death for each vaccine-preventable illness after the introduction of the vaccine for that illness. Click on the image for a larger, easier to read version.


Table 1. Historical Comparison of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases With Vaccines Licensed or Recommended Before 1980: Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Rubella, Smallpox, Tetanusa [1]


This information has been simplified for those not comfortable with scientific research (I do not know the source of the image, it was not part of the paper in JAMA):


As you can see, these diseases are almost never a problem in America, where vaccination rates are still pretty high, although anti-vaxers are causing more and more outbreaks of diseases we had not seen in decades.

Some anti-vaxers will claim that the vaccines didn’t get rid of these diseases. These anti-vaxers claim that improved sanitation, improved hygiene, and improved diet got rid of these diseases. While these improvements are helpful, here is why that is just another anti-vax lie.

We have outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses in America, when the rate of vaccination drops, even though sanitation, hygiene, and diet did not deteriorate. Yes, many of our diets are getting worse, but that is not what is causing outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and other vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The rates of illness and death only have a dramatic change for each of the vaccine-preventable illnesses after the introduction of each vaccine. If sanitation, hygiene, and diet were the reasons, the illnesses would all start to go away at the same time, although not necessarily at the same rate. If that were the case, the decreases in these diseases could easily be shown to be due to improvements in sanitation, hygiene, and diet, but that is not the case.

Anti-vaxers cannot explain that, but anti-vaxers are not reasonable.

Why has the polio vaccine been so effective in India, when India has widespread problems with sanitation, hygiene, and diet?

Here is what the authors wrote:

India, a vastly diverse country with a 27 million birth cohort, undertook the largest vaccination drive against WPV (Wild Polio Virus) in the world. With high population density, poor civic infrastructure, poor sanitation, an almost nonexistent public health system, rampant malnutrition and diarrhea, difficult-to-reach locales, high population mobility, and extremely high force of WPV transmission in few states,3 the interruption of WPV transmission was extremely difficult and demanding. The interplay of these challenging factors provided a perfect milieu for the WPV to circulate, and the prospect of achieving zero-polio status seemed insurmountable.[2]


India completed a full 5 years as a “polio-free nation” on January 13, 2016.1 It was a remarkable feat considering the odds against achieving this status. [2]

Anti-vaxers will make excuses, but this clearly exposes the anti-vax lie that disease elimination being due to improved sanitation, hygiene, and diet, rather than due to vaccines.

The reason smallpox vaccine is no longer given to children, is the worldwide eradication of smallpox by vaccination.

Anti-vaers delayed the worldwide eradication of smallpox.

Anti-vaxers have prevented the worldwide eradication of polio.

Anti-vaxers continue to try to protect polio from eradication.

Children would no longer need polio vaccination, if it weren’t for anti-vaxers.

If you don’t like giving the polio vaccine to your child, blame the anti-vaxers.


[1] Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group.
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

You can also read the full text of the article for free at JAMA at the link below, if you want to understand more of the details that the anti-vaxers don’t want you to understand.

Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States

[2] Polio Eradication in India: The Lessons Learned.
Thacker N, Vashishtha VM, Thacker D.
Pediatrics. 2016 Oct;138(4). pii: e20160461. Epub 2016 Sep 2. Review. No abstract available.
PMID: 27590898

You can also read the full text of the article for free at Pediatrics at the link below, if you want to understand more of the details that the anti-vaxers don’t want you to understand. Pediatrics is one of the most respected pediatric medical publications in the world. Use any search engine to find what pediatric medical journals are the most respected and you will find Pediatrics near the top.

Polio Eradication in India: The Lessons Learned