How risky are vaccines?

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

June 10th, 2016

Editorial Team

‘Vaccines are a very safe way to avoid some very dangerous diseases. These videos explain more.’

Vaccines are a very safe way to avoid some very dangerous diseases. These videos explain more.

While most people have their recommended vaccines on time, every time, some have questions about side effects. Here are some videos which might change how you think about thinking.

First, this short and clear animation puts the very small risk of adverse reactions to vaccines in the context of other risks – such as serious infectious diseases. Take a look.

This is a slightly longer video from the SciShow which examines the ‘vaccination debate’, tracing the origins of some vaccine rumours that persist in the face of overwhelming evidence.


Some of the themes explained above are also addressed rather succinctly by author and risk expect David Ropeik. Drawing on research for his book ‘How risky is it really?’, Ropeik talks to Vaccines Today about some of the factors that influence decisions on health and wellbeing.

And he looks at how we weigh various risks, accepting that there is no such thing as a zero risk activity. After viewing, you may wish everything in life was as safe as vaccines.

And finally, in this TED talk, leading medical journalist Tara Haelle unpacks the cognitive biases behind decision-making and discusses the challenges parents face when making decisions for their children.

Haelle, author of The Informed Parent, offers her own experience of turning down a vaccine for her son and explains how her research led her to become an advocate for vaccination.

Click here to view graphics illustrating the risk of allergic reactions to vaccines and check out this page to see how the risk of adverse reactions to MMR vaccines compare to the risk of measles. (Hint: the vaccine is very safe; measles, not so much).

Have you found videos or graphics on this topic that we should add to our list?