MYTH: Vaccines may be harmful and cause death.

Here are the facts:
  • After much research we now know that vaccines do not cause auto-immune diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, allergies or asthma.
  • Vaccines are actually very safe.
  • Most vaccine side effects are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever.
  • Serious side effects from vaccine are very rare, while serious side effects from the diseases they protect against are far more common.
  • Vaccines go through careful safety studies before they are actually used. This process can take 10 years or longer. Vaccines must be proven to be safe and effective in children.
  • The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) monitors and investigates any harmful reactions from vaccine. Any problems identified result in additional investigation.

MYTH: Too many vaccines can overwhelm a baby's immune system.

Here are the facts:
  • Vaccinating your child as early as possible gives them protection during the early months of their lives when they are most at risk for illness.
  • Giving several vaccinations at the same time will mean fewer office visits for vaccinations, which saves parents both time and money and may be less traumatic for your child.
  • Scientific data show that vaccination with multiple vaccines at the same time has no harmful effects on the normal childhood immune system.

MYTH: Too many vaccines are given to children.

Here are the facts:
  • Our children are exposed to many diseases that could do them harm. Vaccines are the best way to protect against those diseases.
  • Scientific data show that vaccination with multiple vaccines at the same time has no harmful effects on the normal childhood immune system.
  • Children sometimes need additional shots (booster doses) of a vaccine to make sure they are still protected from the disease.

MYTH: Healthcare providers do not consider a child's health before giving vaccines.

Here are the facts:
  • Vaccines are given to your children to keep them healthy. In fact, children at greatest risk of getting sick from certain diseases should be vaccinated.
  • The health of your child is always taken into account when administering vaccinations.
  • There are times when a vaccination may not be given to your child. This can include times when they are ill with a fever or other health problems.
  • Parents are provided with Vaccine Information Statements to better understand the vaccination’s purpose and the potential risks and side effects.

MYTH: Vaccines cause autism.

Here are the facts:
  • To date, there is no definite, scientific proof that any vaccine or combination of vaccines can cause autism.
  • The well known study that linked autism and vaccination has since been proven to be a fraud.
  • Just because the symptoms of autism begin to occur around the same time as the child’s vaccinations does not mean that one caused the other.

MYTH: Vaccines have thimerosal which causes autism.

Here are the facts:
  • No valid studies have ever shown that thimerosal causes autism. To address public concerns, thimerosal has been removed from most childhood vaccines.
  • Since 1999, the use of thimerosal in vaccines has greatly declined. However, the rates of autism since 1999 have only increased.
  • Numerous scientific studies have been conducted that show no link between autism and thimerosal.

MYTH: Vaccines cause Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Here are the facts:
  • Studies have shown that vaccines are not a risk factor for SIDS.
  • Most SIDS deaths are caused by other factors such as newborns sleeping on their stomachs, sharing a bed, exposure to cigarette smoke, and mild respiratory infections.
  • There have been fewer deaths from SIDS since the American Academy of Pediatric’s recommendation to place healthy babies on their backs to sleep even though vaccination rates have remained the same.

MYTH: Vaccines contain harmful and unnecessary chemicals.

Here are the facts:
  • Preservatives stop vaccines from becoming contaminated by germs.
  • Adjuvants are substances added to a vaccine to strengthen your body’s immune response to the vaccine.
  • Additives are substances added in small amounts to stop vaccine from breaking down and sticking to the sides of the vial.
  • These chemicals added to the vaccine have been tested for safety and contribute to the effectiveness of the vaccine.

MYTH: Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) causes brain swelling.

Here are the facts:
  • All well done studies on this issue have found no connection between the MMR vaccine and brain swelling.
  • The CDC, which tracks possible bad reactions to vaccines, reports that brain swelling rarely happens after receiving the MMR vaccine.
  • Unvaccinated children infected with the measles virus run the risk of severe brain swelling which can result in brain damage.

MYTH: Childhood vaccinations cause disease.

Here are the facts:
  • Vaccines are actually very safe. Most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever.
  • If there were no vaccines, there would be many more cases of disease, and along with more disease, there would be more side effects and more deaths.
  • Your child is far more likely to be injured by one of these diseases than by any vaccine.
  • While any serious injury or death caused by vaccines is too many, it is also clear that the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the slight risk, and that many, many more injuries and deaths would occur without vaccinations.
  • To have a medical intervention as effective as vaccination in preventing disease and not use it would be unconscionable.

MYTH: There is no scientific evidence that vaccinations work.

Here are the facts:
  • Scientific studies have shown that vaccines prevent many infectious diseases that were once common in this country, including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib).
  • Vaccines have decreased deaths and hospitalizations by at least 90 percent. In the case of smallpox, diphtheria, and polio vaccines, deaths and hospitalizations related to these diseases have declined by 100 percent.
  • In areas of the world where these vaccines are not available, vaccine preventable diseases still sicken and kill many people.

MYTH: Vaccines are not effective.

Here are the facts:
  • Years of careful study have shown that vaccines, while not always 100% effective for everyone, are our best protection against disease.
  • Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent such as whooping cough, measles, and polio.
  • Being vaccinated not only protects your child but also protects the community. People who are unable to be vaccinated themselves will be less likely to be exposed to disease if those around them are vaccinated.

MYTH: Booster shots prove that vaccines don't really work.

Here are the facts:
  • One dose of a vaccine may not be enough to provide full protection against a disease forever.
  • Overtime, some vaccines lose their ability to protect you against disease.
  • Booster shots may be needed periodically to “boost” the immune system so that you will continue to be protected against disease.

MYTH: Polio would have gone away without vaccines.

Here are the facts:
  • Before polio vaccine was available, as many as 20,000 new cases were reported each year.
  • Polio has been eliminated in the United States but continues to be present in other countries with lower vaccination rates.
  • Stopping vaccination before polio is eliminated worldwide would result in a return of polio in the United States.

MYTH: Hepatitis B is not necessary for infants.

Here are the facts:
  • Hepatitis B is a real and serious risk for infants and young children that can go undetected. The younger you are when you get Hepatitis B, the greater the chance you will develop liver damage and cancer later in life.
  • Newborns can get Hepatitis B from their mother during childbirth or contact with contaminated blood and bodily fluids.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is a safe way to protect your child against this dangerous disease.

MYTH: Children do not get these diseases anymore, so why get the vaccine?

Here are the facts:
  • Some diseases are still prevalent in parts of the world and travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States. These diseases could spread throughout an unvaccinated population, causing epidemics of tens or hundreds of thousands of cases.
  • In 2005 and 2006, the measles outbreak began in a group of travelers (who had not been vaccinated) upon their return from a trip to Romania where they had been exposed to measles.
  • The second reason to get vaccinated is to protect those around us.
  • We would think it irresponsible of a driver to ignore all traffic regulations on the presumption that other drivers will watch out for him or her.
  • We shouldn’t rely on people around us to stop the spread of disease if we ourselves can be vaccinated. We must all do what we can.

MYTH: My child does not need the HPV vaccine because he/she is not having sex.

Here are the facts:
  • Abstinence is the best protection for any sexually transmitted disease.
  • HPV is extremely common and can lead to cervical cancer genital warts.
  • The HPV vaccine does not cure an HPV infection if someone has already been infected with HPV.
  • Your child should get the vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12 years of age before they are sexually active and have been exposed to HPV.

MYTH: Parents can choose whether or not to give their children vaccines.

Here are the facts:
  • The health of your child is of primary concern. Very few children will not be able to receive vaccines for medical reasons.
  • State laws require students to be vaccinated to attend public schools. This helps protect your vaccinated child and their classmates who may not be able to be vaccinated for medical reasons.
  • State laws protect parents' freedom of religion. Understand that in certain cases the choice not to vaccinate could mean a choice to get the disease.

MYTH: Getting the "natural" disease is better than the vaccination.

Here are the facts:
  • The price paid for "natural" disease can include paralysis, brain damage, cancer, deafness, blindness, or even death. Vaccination is the safer choice.
  • When children get sick "naturally" they can pass on the disease to others who may be harmed.
  • When children get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases they miss school and can cause parents to lose time from work. These diseases also result in doctor's visits, hospitalizations, and even premature deaths.
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