Anti vs. Pro-Vaccination

Anti vs. Pro-Vaccination

(Written: 02/05/2013)

If there ever was a more touchy topic, I’d like to see it. But as far as this generation is concerned, ‘Vaccination of babies and toddlers’ and the question of whether or not to subject children to this at such a young age, seems to be the subject of MUCH heated debates! Also, because of our generations’ quick sharing of information, this has become a world wide dilemma. ‘Anti-vaccination’ followers  have become very active in sharing their stance and theories via ‘word of mouth’  to family & friends, the internet,social media, printed media, published books and by whatever means possible to get their perspective heard. The same has been done by mass ‘pro-vaccination’ bodies such as the AAP(American Academy of Pediatrics) and the WHO(World Health Organization). There are very edgy waters at play, so I will do my best to break it down and present both sides of the coin and allow parents at the end of it all to make a clear and informed decision.

Let’s get a few important things out of the way first:-

  1. Where did this whole ‘Anti-vaccine’ stance come from in the first place? –The most notable example is probably the debate regarding the claim (not supported by any scientific studies thus far) that the thimerosal in certain childhood vaccines may have led to an increase in autism. These days, in spite of the lack of scientific evidence to support a link between vaccines and autism — and the fact that thimerosal is no longer used in most childhood vaccines , much of the public has serious doubts about whether it’s worth protecting herd immunity at the cost of exposing children to these supposed risks.”(1) “Anti-vaccine sentiment has been around almost as long as vaccines themselves. Opponents of vaccines often claim a range of different reasons or justifications for their opposition, but for the majority of people who are swayed by these minority voices – enough to choose not to vaccinate their children – it usually comes down to nothing more than fear.”(2)
  2. Is Vaccination linked to Autism?- “Eric Gallup was a normally developing 15-month-old toddler living in Parsippany, New Jersey, when his parents took him for his first measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination in 1986. Shortly after he was vaccinated, they noticed changes in his behavior and ability to communicate. In 1989 he was diagnosed with autism. Unlike the vast majority of MM-vaccinated children, Eric had a serious reaction to the vaccine, his parents say. The Gallups are not alone in their belief that the MMR vaccine led to their child’s autism. In both the United States and the United Kingdom, parents are pushing for research into a possible link between autism and childhood vaccination. HOWEVER, a number of studies published in the past few years point to a connection between autoimmune reactions and autism. In one study, published in the February 1998 issue of the Lancet, Andrew Wakefield, FRCS, of Royal Free Hospital in London, and colleagues found evidence of a possible connection between autism and the measles virus found in the bowels of autistic children. Wakefield and Shattock hypothesize that the combination of the three live viruses in the MMR could overload the immature immune systems of some toddlers who have some unknown genetic or immunological predisposition to this, leading to neurological and gastrointestinal problems. FOR MORE INFO ON WHY Andrew Wakefield’s research was dis-credited and considered fraudulent SEE HERE!! Barbara Loe Fisher, the parent of an autistic child and co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, believes that until more is understood about possible risk factors for adverse reactions to the MMR vaccine, parents should first give their child’s physician a full family history, including information about any neurological or autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, arthritis, or diabetes.”(3)
  3. Is Herd Immunity a Proven Reality?!? – Advocates of the ‘anti-vaccine’ side of the fence, believe that “The term herd immunity is tossed about as if it had been proven to work. But it hasn’t. The fact is that herd immunity has never been more than a concept—an idea that sounds good, but has little basis in reality.”(4) It is largely promoted in these circles that the decrease in disease in the flourishing nations has a lot more to do with increased hygiene and healthcare than the increase in regular vaccination.
  4. But ‘What is herd immunity’? – According to political scientist Robert D. Putnam, “Herd immunity rests on the principle of safety in numbers; if more people are immune to a certain virus, either through vaccination or through already having the disease, then more people in the population, even if they themselves aren’t immune, are protected from the disease.”(1) “And while the term herd immunity seems to imply that the whole herd should be vaccinated, the whole herd is merely protected if a certain percentage is immunized; mathematical models can be used to determine exactly what percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to prevent a communicable disease. For example, if approximately 80 to 86 percent of a population is immune to polio, then herd immunity is achieved.”(5)
  5. But what if the vaccines themselves were linked to deaths? Publi­c health officials worry that herd immunity may have been too successful for its own good. Because all children were immunized in the past, many parents today haven’t seen the effects of a widespread polio epidemic or a measles outbreak, diseases that still prevail in countries where vaccines are unaffordable. But what those parents may have seen, however, are reports that detail the side effects of a vaccination, though reports of extreme reactions to vaccines are usually very rare. For example, the polio vaccine is thought to be responsible for eight deaths a year. That’s frightening, but health officials say that the fear can’t compare to the peak of the polio epidemic, when fear of the iron lung was endemic.(1)
  6. Since thimerosal has been taken out of most vaccines, are there any other potentially dangerous additives?! – The anti-vaccine supports argue that “According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s vaccine additives page, all the following ingredients are routinely used as vaccine additives: Aluminum, Antibiotics, Formaldehyde, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)  and Thimerosal”(6) To read more on the ‘alleged side effects’ of these chemicals/additives SEE HERE…
  7. Has the ‘alleged dangers’ of ignoring herd immunity come to pass? – There are two sides to this coin and to very distinct theories on whether or not this has come to pass. Thus I encourage readers to read the details of both these reports and decided  for yourselves which report sounds more convincing. Because when it comes down to it, the ‘anti or pro-vaccination’ stance is a matter of personal choice and it’s up to you to decided which perspective makes more sense and which argument seems more convincing. I’ll start with a report for pro-vaccination...“The current spread of measles is in stark contrast to a decade ago, when there were only a handful of cases. Measles was once effectively eradicated, with the only cases being those imported from abroad. However, vaccination rates plummeted after, now discredited, claims of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism by Andrew Wakefield. It started in 1998, but the debate intensified and MMR uptake reached its lowest levels in 2003-04. As the number of unprotected children increased, so did the number of cases. Read more here…(7) With regards to the anti-vaccine stance, the following report was made...”As measles outbreaks continue to make big news around the world, the very small percentage of those children who are not vaccinated for measles usually get the blame for the outbreaks. This is illogical, since those vaccinated for the disease are supposed to be protected – this is how vaccines are marketed. What seldom is reported in these outbreaks, and as is seen in the recent outbreak in Pakistan, is that the majority of those being infected with measles are the ones vaccinated for it….The science explaining this has been readily available for many years now. Viruses adapt and become resistant to the antibodies contained in vaccines, and in the process the body’s own immune system is not allowed to develop natural immunity. Read more here…”(8)
  8. What is the Islamic Stance on Vaccination and these Issues?!?- Below is a question submitted to the scholars on this issue.(9) Read entire article here:

QUESTION:- “The vaccinations or immunisations that are given to children are a questionable matter. The prevalent theory says that once you give the child a small amount of the virus that causes a certain disease – which is known as immunisation or vaccination – he then develops immunity against that disease of the rest of his life. But I became concerned about this issue after I read that most of the immunisations that are given to children are derived from rotten blood of horses, pus from sick cows, pigs’ blood, rabbits’ brains, dogs’ kidneys, chickens’ wombs… The list is long. What I want to know is the ruling on these things, and whether it is permissible for parents to give their children these immunisations. If the information I have read is correct, this means that the children of the world are being injected with impure and rotten substances. Didn’t the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “Allah did not put the remedy of my ummah in its disease”? So what should we do then?”

Shaykh Sa‘d ibn Naasir al-Shathri (may Allah preserve him) said: “Among issues having to do with epidemics and contagious diseases is the ruling on vaccinations that are given in order to protect against these diseases….

(i)  Vaccinations the effects of which are known from experience to give protection against this disease by Allah’s leave. The ruling on these is that they come under the same ruling as medical treatment, as they are a type of medical treatment. That is because they are included in the words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): “Seek medical treatment.” So they come under the same rulings as medical treatment. Some fuqaha’ had a problem with the idea of vaccinations and said: The vaccination is a reduced level of sickness that is transferred to the body so that the body will be able to fight the real sickness (so that the body gets used to resisting sickness). They said: How can we allow introducing sickness into the body? But the more correct view is that there is nothing wrong with doing that; rather it is a righteous act because the introduction of harm in this case does not result in further harm; rather it serves a purpose which is to protect the one who receives this vaccination from severe illness. This indicates that there is nothing wrong with receiving this vaccination. [End quote from a lecture entitled Ahkaam Fiqhiyyah tata‘allaq bil Awbi’ah]

(ii) The second type is that which is a substance that it is permissible to use, but it causes more harm than good to the body or it is of no benefit at all. With regard to these vaccinations there is no doubt that it is not permissible to use them because we have been forbidden to harm ourselves by consuming harmful food, drink, medicine and so on.

(iii) The third type is that which is made from a substance that was originally haraam or impure (najis) but it has been chemically treated or other substances have been added to it that changed it in name and quality to a permissible substance, which is what is called istihaalah or transformation, and it has a beneficial effect.

In al-Mawsoo‘ah al-‘Arabiyyah al-‘Aalamiyyah it says: “Some vaccines are made from parts or secretions of the live agents that cause the disease and other types of vaccinations are made from live agents that are similar to those that cause the disease. These agents give immunity but they do not cause disease.” It is permissible to have these vaccinations because the transformation that changed the name and quality of the substance also changed the ruling, so they became permissible to use.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “With regard to smoke from an impure substance or matter, (the ruling) is based on a principle which is that the impure substance, if it is transformed and becomes good like other goos substances, it is pure, like what falls into the saltworks of blood, animals that die naturally (without being slaughtered properly) and pigs becomes pure salt like the rest of the salt.  There are two scholarly views concerning this type of transformation. One view is that it does not become pure, as is the view of al-Shaafa‘i and is also one of the two views of the madhhab of Maalik; it is also the well known view of the companions of Ahmad and is one of the two opinions narrated from him. The other view is that it does become pure. This is the view of Abu Haneefah and of Maalik according to one of the two opinions, and it is one of the two opinions narrated from Ahmad.

The view of the literalists and others is that it becomes pure, and this is the definitive correct view, because these transformed substances are not referred to in any text of prohibition, whether explicitly or implicitly. So they are not haraam and there is no reason for them to be haraam, and there is no justification to suggest that they are haraam. Rather the texts indicate that they are halaal because they are pure. They also come under the category that all are agreed is halaal.

[‘End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 21/70, 71]



It’s important to note though, that after all is said and done,  some parents are crystal clear on their stance, some are clearly against and some caught in the middle. Here is an article regarding the perspective of a mom who used to be ‘anti-vaccine’ and quickly changed her mind when her daughter succumbed to a disease “whopping cough” that was taught to be eradicated/managed by vaccines decades ago:-

“And yet I still wondered about that list of things that I would now, I suppose, have to surrender to and immunize my child against. Polio, for one — a couple of my parents’ pensioner friends still carry the limp left by their childhood polio, but none of my friends do, because it isn’t around any more. And diphtheria — what was that, even? I knew it had killed one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, but that wasn’t our reality.  The reason it wasn’t our reality was, of course, due to a continuous programme of immunisation. Duh. Diphtheria is a disease that still kills one in five infants it meets, even if they get treatment, their necks swelling up until they can no longer breathe. I have now seen a picture of a child whose neck was ravaged by diphtheria, bloated like a foie gras goose about to burst. I wish I could unsee it. Duh, indeed. This anti-vaccination nonsense is an instance in which the public’s lack of knowledge about how science works (and not just their lack of recall of scientific facts) is truly harmful.” (via @CharlesCMann)

“This is a very ‘young’ debate and A LOT of work still needs to be done on both sides of the spectrum to put a little more ‘fact’ into the ‘theories’ being shot from both sides of the fence. A lot of parents are still sitting right on top of that fence and a lot of the bold statements being made leave us moms and dads completely confused, flustered and even under a bit of pressure from our peers…BUT what I will say is that there is great passion in both anti and pro-vaccine supporters and with time, I expect Inshaa Allah that a lot more studies, surveys and facts would be brought to the table to help us all make a more clear, informed and confident choice when it comes to our children….I hope the above was helpful in showing both sides of the argument. I myself, having weighed the pros and cons am pro-vaccination but someone else may read this same article and maybe get something else from it, so I welcome you all to read as much as you can and read the links provided below in their entirety and make an informed decision Inshaa Allah…”(Azizah)


4 thoughts on “Anti vs. Pro-Vaccination

  1. Pingback: Anti Vs. Pro-Vaccination!! | Ask Azizah

  2. Pingback: HOT TOPIC!!! | Ask Azizah

  3. Assalaamu alaikum.
    BaarakAllaahu feek for our efforts. These days, you just never know what and who to believe concerning such severe topics, Allaahu ‘aalam. Hasbiya llaahu laa ilaaha illa huwa alayhi tawwakaltu wa huwa alaa kulli shay’in qadeer. May Allaah guide us in every affair to goodness Ameen. May Allaah bless you and yours and the readers and their fams Ameen.

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