Vaccines are one of the biggest breakthroughs in public health — eradicating deadly diseases like smallpox and saving untold numbers of people since they were first developed in the 18th century. Today, vaccines are being readily deployed across the world to combat potentially deadly diseases like the flu, polio, and measles.
But there remains a lot of misinformation about vaccines: about how they work, about their effectiveness, and particularly that they’re somehow tied to other, unrelated health issues. The misinformation has inhibited public health goals to vaccine as many people as possible and stop the spread of dangerous pathogens, damaging the potential effect of one of humanity’s greatest tools in health care.
This explainer breaks down the big issues facing vaccines, from how they actually work all the way up to the faulty anti-vaccine claims that are out there today. To learn more, click through the questions in the table of contents above.
— German Lopez