The Instigator
Pro (for)
18 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Vaccination is beneficial

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,837 times Debate No: 56850
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)




N00b snipers welcome!

My contention is that Vaccination is a critical public health measure and is both beneficial and safe.

I will assume BoP for demonstrating that vaccinations are safe and effective. You will be expected to refute my position, and assume BoP for any claims you make regarding ineffectivness or danger.

Open debate, four rounds, fourty-eight hours, 10-day voting period, 8k character limit but please try to be clear and concise; stay on-point. Nobody likes protracted and unnecessarily discursive anecdotes.

1st round acceptance (feel free to post arguments if you wish to save time, but that would be unfair to you as it presents me with an opportunity to rebut early), obvious usual progression from there.


I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you to 64bithuman for accepting the debate, and I am grateful to be gaining the experience of debating an accomplished member of the DDO community.

My contention is that Vaccination is a critical public health measure and is both beneficial and safe.

I will open with three key arguments:

  1. Vaccination is demonstrably effective.
    I will illustrate this point by discussing the eradication of smallpox, the near-eradication of polio, and various other trends in disease reduction upon implementation of public immunisation programs.
  2. Vaccination is safe.
    In order to avoid being accused of constructing a straw-man of the anti-vax position, I will begin by explaining why vaccinations can be considered safe for the vast majority of the population.
  3. Failure to vaccinate elucidates measurable counter-benefits to both individuals and the wider community
Naturally, if you feel these are all irrelevant, I will rebut your subsequent contentions.


Vaccination is demonstrably effective.
Study(1) after publication(2) has demonstrated that vaccines are effective in their basic function; stimulating an individual's immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a given pathogen. In simple terms, this means that vaccines reduce the incidence of disease. And, of course, historical data demonstrates this(3)(4). As can be seen in the graphs(3,4), the implementation of vaccination corresponds to a rapid decrease in death and incidence of various diseases, and is supported by evidence of statistical significance (i.e. not simply a case of correlation not equalling causation). Meta-analyses of some types of influenza vaccines have shown reduced effectiveness during some seasons, however, this is almost ubiquitously a result of the rapidly mutating nature of the influenza virus, and not the efficacy of the vaccines themselves. Individuals may still become ill after being vaccinated, as individual vaccination effectiveness is, of course, only approaching 100% (about 98% for measles, for example)(1). However, the absolute majority of individuals achieve functional immunity once immunised against the most diseases, and it is this vast majority that, when coupled with high community vaccination rates, confers the additional benefits of herd immunity and the eventual eradication of disease.

The eradication of poliomyelitis in the Western world and smallpox globally is one of the greatest public health achievements to date. This came about through a disciplined vaccination schedule and years of research and dedication; the almost-total destruction of these diseases is testament to the efficacy of vaccination(5).

Vaccination is demonstrably effective in reducing the incidence and death rates of disease.

Vaccination is safe.
As a rule-of-thumb, no biological agent can ever be considered 100% safe, and all types of medicine have side-effects. However, the propensity of the evidence towards their safety is absolutely clear and except in a very limited number of exceptional cases, are almost always safe. I will demonstrate this assertion here, first discussing the ingredients in vaccines and then using the example of the autism controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine.

Some children (and adults) have medical conditions which cause them to be immunocompromised, or may have a specific allergy to an ingredient in a vaccine. These individuals should not be vaccinated; however, these individuals provide even more reason for others in the community to become vaccinated; immunocompromised children rely on the heard immunity of their immediate and extended community to prevent them from becoming ill.
Controversial ingredients include:

  • Thimerosal, what most anti-vaxxers claim as the origin of autism, is an organic mercury-based compound that consists of just under 50% ethyl mercury(6). Thimerosal is not in the MMR vaccine(9). It has been omitted from almost all vaccines since 1999(6), there is no evidence of it causing any adverse health effects with the exception of minor swelling and redness at the site of injection(6), and it has never been implicated in causing autism. It was used as a preservative, but the amount was so thoroughly insignificant that one's of mercury bioaccumulation from the entire childhood vaccination schedule is nine-times less than a single tuna sandwich(7). And anyway, if it did cause autism, you'd expect autism to drop after it was taken out of vaccines. Which it didn't.
  • Formaldehyde, also used as a preservative and to prevent runaway pathogen replication. 70-80 times more can be found in the human body by natural production than in a jab(8).
  • Aluminium Hydroxide is in such small quantities in vaccines that you can literally get 1000 times more of it from a single ant-acid tablet and is the most common metal in nature(7)[around 9:00]. Breastfeeding puts a child at greater risk(8).

MMR and Autism
The MMR vaccine does not cause autism. In fact, none do(7)(10)(11)(12)(13).
Time and time again, studies and meta-analyses have found no correlation between vaccination and autism. In 1998 Andrew Wakefield conducted an illegal test (it wasn't even an experiment) on 8 children (which is a pitifully small sample), doctoring the evidence of those measurements, and presenting them to be published in the Lancet(12). The paper was later retracted and Wakefield lost his licence to practice medicine. Before looking for more evidence, frightened readers and the 24-hour news cycle regurgitated the hokum and established the current fear of vaccines. What the public didn't know was that Wakefield had been hired to find evidence of the correlation for a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company responsible for the production of the vaccine; and Wakefield was developing his own vaccine which he wanted to force into the market as a competitor(12). Follow the money.

Failure to vaccinate elucidates measurable counter-benefits.

Decreasing vaccination rates have been implicated in the recent resurgence of measles(14). In fact, failure to vaccinate has caused hundreds of thousands of preventable cases; this interactive map is absolutely critical in examining the extent of diminished benefit due to failure to vaccinate(15). If you choose to ignore all of my other sources, I strongly encourage you to at least investigate this one.

Vaccination is, given the propensity of the evidence, both safe and effective.

(1) New England Journal of Medicine, Markowitz, L. (et. al), Immunisation of Six-Month-Old Infants[...]
accessible at: []
(2) Journal of Infectious Diseases, Weindberg, G & Szilagyi, P, Vaccine Epidemiology: Efficacy, Effectiveness, and the Translational Research Roadmap, accessible at: []
(3) []
(5)Polio timeline: []
(7)[] {go to time 10:30}
(13) []



64bithuman forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I have many more arguments to use, however I'll give my opponent the benefit of the doubt. Maybe something came up and you just couldn't make it in time. If you'd still like to debate, my contentions remain the same as the previous round, feel free to come back and refute those, we can go from there.


Alright, after an hour of research, I realize this debate is essentially unwinnable. I cannot prove that the majority of vaccinations are not beneficial, and actually, upon further reflection, I really shouldn't have accepted this debate, and I don't know why I did.

There is just no way I can honestly defend against this!

I'll ask for mercy on the voting pole, but pro deserves the win, I made a slight miscalculation....sorry!
Debate Round No. 3


Oh well, next time bud. I'm glad you're on the winning side, at least!

Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
Not to worry bud! Left mine blank, just go ahead and refute my first lot, I'll respond and you'll get a chance to have the final word.
Posted by 64bithuman 7 years ago
I missed the deadline!?!?!?! Crap!
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
@schachdame, nah that's cool, pains in the neck do the same for me.
HAHAHAHAH, did you literally just say "no one likes to be treated like an idiot before they even said a word"? Check yourself, friend.
But not to worry, an experienced debater (who, frankly, is going to pummel me) has accepted the debate and I'm grateful for the experience I'll get.
Also *his or her, DDO is no place for misogyny, thanks.

@9spaceking I don't know who that is but if they're looking to have their W/L ratio obliterated tell them to hit me up (~~~~~facetious~~~~~).
Posted by 9spaceking 7 years ago
snipers welcome?? Better call in Teemo.
Posted by schachdame 7 years ago
@InnovativeEphemera aka Ceasar. Sorry, backpain makes me moody. But seriously "Nobody likes protracted and /unnecessarily/ discursive anecdotes." Is it up to you to judge and tell your opponent how much details are needed for his arguments? Before the debate even started? Nobody wants to be treated like an idiot before they even said a word.

Also, don't get me wrong, personally I have no negative opinion about vaccination. It's just that the way this debate is framed kinda lays most of the BOP on Con, because CON will have to refute ALL your benefits AND show negatives while you only have to show that at least one benefit is valid.
"Safe" is the only keyword that gives CON any chance here. So why not only talk about safety in the first place because that'll be better source-able and research-able.
Currently that topic is going to be messy, verbally tough and likely off-topic. I really can understand why people hesitate to accept.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
Cold-Mind, thanks for your contribution.

That's an interesting position. Is your general distrust of the government your only motivation for being against vaccination? May I ask what the motive is to poison you? Also, a common anti-vax position is that it's the pharmaceutical industry that is trying to poison you (since they make the vaccines). I'm wondering where the government comes in to this?

Good to hear your side, feel free to comment a while longer and if you feel I'm full of it and I represent the societal moneymaking machine then I'd for us to exercise our mutual freedom of speech rights and engage in a friendly debate!
Posted by Cold-Mind 7 years ago
I am opponent of vaccination, but I think there is not enough things to say in order to have a debate.
I don't believe my government. Even if what they say what is in the vaccine is really good for me, I can't know for sure they are not lying. They have a motive to poison us.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
schachdame, thanks for your comment, although I don't appreciate you resorting to ad hominem before evening beginning to present your position. Ironically you opening with "You just sound plain lovely to debate". Et tu, Brute?

I'm looking to start a debate with an anti-vaxxer with a view to hear their position and argue my opinion. I don't think there's anything tricky here, my opening line clearly states that my contention is: Vaccination is a critical public health measure and is both beneficial and safe.

If you genuinely feel like this needs to be clarified, I mean beneficial to the individual receiving the vaccine and the wider community through herd immunity.

Ps, no, I don't work for a 'big pharma'.
Posted by schachdame 7 years ago
You just sound plain lovely to debate. Sure when it comes to BOP, vaccinating IS beneficial but for WHOM? It's not like this can't be twisted into something barely possible to show. ~o~
I'm personally excited to see how this is going to turn out.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Samreay 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Was looking forward to cons response after some seriously well researched arguments from Pro. And then a forfeit. Ah well.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Zarroette 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con gracefully concedes.

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