Posted February 8, 2017
Parents want to keep their children healthy, but wonder whether vaccinations are safe and necessary to fight viruses and diseases. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that immunizations have kept children healthy for more than 50 years. Vaccinations have reduced the number of children getting preventable infections by more than 90 percent. Despite these trends, many people still have concerns. Review five of 10 common vaccine myths as featured in Reader’s Digest.
1. The flu vaccine doesn’t work – Although there are many different strains of the flu, the vaccine usually can combat the most common viruses circulating each season. Doctors say people will get less sick if they take the vaccine than if they didn’t.
2. Vaccines cause autism – A 1998 study of 12 children determined that vaccines could cause autism. But additional research on this study discovered several flaws in how it was conducted, leading to misinformation on the topic. Since then, scientists have continued to study the issue and have not found any links between vaccines and autism. This can be hard to hear if parents are convinced it was the cause of their child’s disorder.
3. Some diseases are rare making vaccines unnecessary – Even though incidences of some diseases, such as polio or the measles, are rare in the United States, they are active in other countries. Unimmunized Americans traveling to those countries unknowingly can bring diseases back home and share them with children who are not immunized.
4. Avoid getting more than one vaccine at a time – Vaccine guidelines recommend giving children at certain ages more than one vaccine. Some people believe this protocol may weaken their immune system. However, medical professionals report that every day children fight off many viruses and bacteria. Receiving more than one vaccine at a time will not hurt them, but the alternative would entail more doctor visits to get them done in the same timeframe.
5. Good hygiene is all that’s necessary to control infections – Vaccines protect 95 percent of children who are immunized. And for the 1 to 5 percent of children who don’t develop immunity, a second dose given at another time will boost protection. Good handwashing is important to kill and prevent the spread of germs but, even after handwashing, viruses still can exist and spread to unimmunized people.
Learn more about vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.