From boosting your yearly flu immunity to ending deadly diseases around the world, vaccines have changed the face of modern health care for the better and have saved millions of lives. With this proven track record, why are there still debates around their use?
Media hype and misinformation may be to blame. Below are common myths and facts to help understand why vaccines are important to your health.
Myth 1: Vaccines cause autism (MMR and autism)
Fact: In a 2015 study of more than 95,000 children, no link was found between having the MMR vaccine and developing autism.
Furthermore, there was no link for children with a sibling with autism.1
Myth 2: Vaccines are not safe
Fact: Vaccines are studied in thousands of people both before approval for routine use and for years later.
Myth 3: If I don’t get a vaccine, I’m only risking my own health
Fact: Vaccines work best when everyone around you gets them.
If you don’t get sick or are immune to a disease, then those who can’t be vaccinated or are at high risk for an illness will get some protection.
Myth 4: We are giving too many shots
Fact: Vaccines are different than they used to be.
In 1960, there were just three vaccines — smallpox, polio and DTP. Those vaccines had more than 3,200 antigens. (Antigens are anything foreign to the body’s immune system.) Today, there are 25 times fewer antigens in the entire series of vaccines. In other words, while there are more vaccines given today, they have fewer antigens.
Myth 5: It’s better to ward off diseases by getting one naturally
Fact: Natural infection is associated with many risks, including: death, hospitalizations, severe disability including brain damage, hearing loss, birth defects, loss of limbs, sterility, etc.