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

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!

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

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 It was retracted.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."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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