Myths About Vaccination Busted!
09/ 06/ 2016
What are some of the myths – and facts – about vaccination?
Myth 1: Better hygiene and sanitation will make diseases disappear – vaccines are not necessary. FALSE
Fact 1: The diseases we can vaccinate against will return if we stop vaccination programs. While better hygiene, hand washing and clean water help protect people from infectious diseases, many infections can spread regardless of how clean we are. If people are not vaccinated, diseases that have become uncommon, such as polio and measles, will quickly reappear.
Myth 2: Vaccines have several damaging and long-term side-effects that are yet unknown. Vaccination can even be fatal. FALSE
Fact 2: Vaccines are very safe. Most vaccine reactions are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. Serious health events are extremely rare and are carefully monitored and investigated. You are far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine.
Myth 3: The combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) and the vaccine against poliomyelitis cause sudden infant death syndrome. FALSE
Fact 3: There is no causal link between the administering of the vaccines and sudden infant death, however, these vaccines are administered at a time when babies can suffer sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In other words, the SIDS deaths are co-incidental to vaccination and would have occurred even if no vaccinations had been given.
Myth 4: Vaccine-preventable diseases are almost eradicated in my country, so there is no reason to be vaccinated. FALSE
Fact 4: Although vaccine preventable diseases have become uncommon in many countries, the infectious agents that cause them continue to circulate in some parts of the world. In a highly inter-connected world, these agents can cross geographical borders and infect anyone who is not protected. So two key reasons to get vaccinated are to protect ourselves and to protect those around us.
Myth 5: Vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses are just an unfortunate fact of life. FALSE
Fact 5: Vaccine preventable diseases do not have to be ‘facts of life’. Illnesses such as measles, mumps and rubella are serious and can lead to severe complications in both children and adults, including pneumonia, encephalitis, blindness, diarrhea, ear infections, and death. All these diseases and suffering can be prevented with vaccines.
Myth 6: Giving a child more than one vaccine at a time can increase the risk of harmful side-effects, which can overload the child’s immune system. FALSE
Fact 6: Scientific evidence shows that giving several vaccines at the same time has no adverse effect on a child’s immune system. Also, when it is possible to have a combined vaccination, e.g. for measles, mumps and rubella, that means fewer injections.
Myth 7: Influenza is just a nuisance, and the vaccine isn’t very effective. FALSE
Fact 7: Influenza is much more than a nuisance. It is a serious disease that kills 300 000 – 500 000 people worldwide every year. It is the best way to reduce your chances of severe flu and of spreading it to others. Avoiding the flu means avoiding extra medical care costs and lost income from missing days of work or school.
Myth 8: It is better to be immunized through disease than through vaccines. FALSE
Fact 8: Vaccines interact with the immune system to produce an immune response similar to that produced by the natural infection, but they do not cause the disease or put the immunized person at risk of its potential complications.
Myth 9: Vaccines cause autism. FALSE
Fact 9: The 1998 study which raised concerns about a possible link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism was later found to be seriously flawed, and the paper has been retracted by the journal that published it. There is no evidence of a link between MMR vaccine and autism or autistic disorders.