Fact vs. fiction: The truth about immunization safety

The New Year brings with it many things. For parents, that may include thinking about all the doctor’s appointments you may need to make for your kids this year. One of those appointments may be for your child to get their immunizations.

The Guidelines to Good Health immunization schedule for children

Immunizations have received a lot of press over the last few years. For instance, in 2010, an article appearing in The Lancet that suggested a link between vaccines and autism was retracted after flaws in the study’s research methods were revealed. However, as causes of autism have yet to be determined, many parents still fear that immunizations must be the culprit.

With all this publicity, many myths about immunization safety have arisen. As parents, we want to make sure our children are safe. And when it comes to vaccinations, sorting myth from fact is important to keeping our children healthy.

Below please find some common myths and facts about immunizations:

Myth: Vaccines can cause harmful side effects.

Fact: Vaccines are very safe. Most side effects go away soon and are mild. These might include a sore arm or a slight fever.

 

Myth: Vaccines will make my child sick in other ways.

Fact: Vaccines prevent diseases. They don’t cause them.

 

Myth: Getting several shots at the same time is risky.

Fact: Getting several vaccines at once doesn’t harm a child. Today, many children get combination shots. This includes MMR, for measles, mumps and rubella. Your child will not get more side effects with combination shots. They also work just as well as single shots.

 

Myth: Vaccines can overpower my child’s defenses against disease.

Fact: Vaccines cannot make a healthy immune system weak. The immune system is what protects your child against disease.

 

Myth: Vaccines only prevent rare diseases.

Fact: If people don’t get shots, even rare diseases can reappear.

 

Myth: Vaccines have bad ingredients in them.

Fact: Vaccines may have small amounts of chemicals. These include mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde. But in such small amounts, they aren’t unsafe. Some vaccines contain egg and gelatin. These may cause rare reactions in some people. Before getting a shot, tell your doctor if you or your child is allergic to any medicine or food.

By keeping up to date on shots, we can protect our children — and others. Over the long-term, the benefits of immunizing your child are greater than any risks. Click here to review our Guidelines to Good Health in their entirety.

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4 Comments

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  1. Nate 1 year ago

    Several “facts” in this article are apparently intended to misinform rather than educate readers. For example, getting several shots at a time is certainly more dangerous than getting fewer shots at a time. This was confirmed in a recent study: http://het.sagepub.com/content/31/10/1012.full In summary, drugs have synergistic effects. Infants who receive several vaccines at the same time are more likely to be hospitalized or die after receiving those vaccines than infants who receive fewer vaccines at the same time.

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  2. Joshua 1 year ago

    Good night, Lara, you are not a doctor so what do you know about it? Serious misinformation and lack of honest analysis here.

    Would you please tell a math professor at my university that vaccines don’t cause harmful side effects?

    He was paralyzed from the waist down after getting some kind of vaccination to prevent a certain tropical disease before going on a trip to the tropics.

    And yes, the doctors told him it was the vaccine that caused this! There was clear causation.

    Yes, for most people you get vaccines and you are fine but vaccines CAN cause serious problems in a minority of people, even paralysis.

    Please don’t talk about things which you are clearly clueless about.

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  3. Ian 1 year ago

    Nate:

    You might want to look into the conflicts of interest on the article you listed, the study was funded by the National Vaccine Information Center, an anti-vaccine activism group (in fact, this group continues to push the proven false association between the MMR vaccine and Autism even). The authors also completely ignore the confounding effects of the child’s existing health status. Those receiving more vaccines within the first year of life are more likely to have poorer health to begin with.

    The potential risk I could see at play with receiving that many vaccines that early in life are allergic reactions. At that age it can be too early to know a child’s allergy profile, and it is possible that they are allergic to some vaccines.

    That being said, that study contained extreme conflicts of interest, flawed methods, and a very limited scope (only focused on the first year of life). I would not call this sufficient evidence to suggest that there is increased risk involved with receiving more than one vaccination at the same time.

    Joshua:

    You question Lara’s credibility then try to make a scientific case from anecdotal evidence? Pot, meet kettle.

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    • Ian 1 year ago

      Looking further into Nate’s linked article, the only contributor is a Computer Scientist with no academic affiliation on behalf of the “ThinkTwice Global Vaccine Institute”, another anti-vaccine organization. The motivations behind that article are extremely questionable, and the fact that it was an Epidemiologic study conducted by someone with absolutely no Epidemiologic background makes it even more questionable.

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