Got 3 Minutes? Here's Everything You Need To Know About Vaccines And Their Controversy.

Rajiv Narayan

In the spirit of brevity, this animation does simplify things. We filled in the gaps with our own fact-checking below the video. Let us know what you think!

We checked out every fact in this video. Some, like the history and timeline, are not controversial and weren't worth listing here. We hope that's OK. Here are the rest:

At 0:29: "...1979, smallpox is eradicated globally."

0:45: "Globally, the number of polio cases decreases from 350,000 to just 187 in 2012." (Note: That count is through November 2012. Unfortunately, polio was on the rise in 2013. WHO figures showed 416 cases in 2013.)

1:51: "More recently, groups have claimed that toxins within vaccines cause autism. But many studies involving hundreds of thousands of children all strongly point out no correlation between vaccines and autism." The CDC has an index of these studies. In addition, here's a list of key studies:

  • The marquee study showing a link between the MMR vaccine and autism was a 1998 Lancet article. It was retracted.
  • From a 1999 Lancet study: "Our analyses do not support a causal association between MMR vaccine and autism. If such an association occurs, it is so rare that it could not be identified in this large regional sample."
  • A 2001 JAMA study (PDF) drew on a sample of 10,000 kindergartners born between 1980 and 1994 to show that there's been a 373% increase in autism diagnoses when the MMR vaccine coverage increased from 72% to 82%. This led the study authors to write, "These data do not suggest an association between MMR immunization among young children and an increase in autism occurrence."
  • A 2002 NEJM study followed all children born in Denmark 1991-1998 (537,000 kids). Study authors: "This study provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism."
  • A 2012 systematic review of 64 studies including 14.7 million children showed that "exposure to the MMR vaccine was unlikely to be associated with autism, asthma, leukaemia, hay fever, type 1 diabetes, gait disturbance, Crohn's disease, demyelinating diseases, bacterial or viral infections."

1:59: "In 2009, the U.S. Court of [Federal] Claims ruled thimerosol-containing vaccines do not cause autism." Even if they did, according to the CDC, there has been no thimerosol in infant vaccines since 2003.

2:17: "The CDC announced the eradication of measles in 2000, but in 2011, 220 Americans became infected, the largest number in 15 years. Two-thirds of them had never received the measles vaccination."

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