Myths and Facts About Vaccinations

Mar 01, 2023
Myths and Facts About Vaccinations
Many myths and old fables surround vaccinations — how do you separate fact from fiction or superstition? Vaccines are a hot topic, so let’s shed some light on the truths regarding vaccinations and their importance for your health.

Do you know how your body fights off pathogens and diseases? When you get sick, your body generates antibodies that fight off those specific germs or other pathogens that can make you sick again. You’re better able to resist getting sick from that germ in the future. 

Or, you can become vaccinated against specific diseases. Vaccines help your body fight off disease and prevent you from spreading diseases to other people. They actually help your body build antibodies to fight against diseases you’ve never been exposed to in the first place. That makes them an important preventive measure for good health. 

Unfortunately, fear and misinformation surround the topic of vaccines, spurring many myths that prevent people from using these tools for better health. Our health care team here at LocalMD in Queens and Maspeth, New York, provides some facts to dispel the myths and legends about vaccines. Get the facts, and then get vaccinated to protect your family against dangerous diseases. 

Myth: Vaccinations are linked to autism

Many who oppose vaccinations often cite this myth as the basis for rejecting shots. The link between vaccinations and autism originated in a 1998 study, led by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield. The original article was published in The Lancet, an important medical journal. Dr. Wakefield argued that the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella increased cases of autism in British children. 

This study was later soundly discredited based on both ethical violations and serious procedural errors. Dr. Wakefield lost his medical license in 2010 and The Lancet also retracted the paper. Furthermore, studies since then have found no link between vaccinations and autism. 

Subsequent studies that explored Wakefield’s hypothesis failed to find any link between vaccinations and autism. In fact, the latest research indicates that autism develops before birth before children receive any vaccinations. 

Myth: Getting multiple vaccines is harmful

Before a vaccine is approved for use, it’s tested with other vaccines recommended for a specific age group. This ensures that adding a new vaccine won’t cause adverse reactions, reduce its effectiveness, or interfere with other vaccines given at the same time. In fact, research has proven that several vaccines at once can help protect children faster. Under the current recommended vaccine schedule, children are protected against 16 different diseases by age 18. 

Plus, administering several vaccines at the same time or in a combination dose, like diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT), reduces the number of required office visits, saving time, money, and trauma for the child. 

Myth: There are safety concerns with vaccines

While it is true that vaccines can cause side effects, some even unexpected, the overall safety of vaccines has been proven over time. The United States FDA must approve all vaccinations before they are available to the public and The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) monitors the safety of vaccinations. When adverse reactions to a vaccine occur, they’re reported to VAERS for follow-up. You can report adverse reactions to VAERS yourself. 

Myth: Getting the disease (“herd immunity”) provides better protection than vaccines

Vaccines are sort of a road map that teach our bodies how to produce the right antibodies to fight off disease. Are you willing to suffer through polio and risk paralysis (or put your children at risk) by thinking you can develop your own immunity to polio? Or would you rather take the vaccine and protect yourself (or your child) from such suffering? 

Vaccines work with an effective rate in the United States of 90-99%. And even if you contract a disease, you’re likely to experience milder symptoms if you’re already vaccinated. 

Myth: You don’t need travel vaccinations

You may need travel immunizations if you’re traveling to specific international areas, even if the diseases no longer exist in this country. Some other countries do not have the strong infrastructure to completely vaccinate their populations, so it’s wise to protect yourself against diseases you may encounter. And remember, you need to take travel vaccines before your trip so your body can build immunity. 

Are your family’s vaccinations up-to-date?

Our medical team at LocalMD considers it our primary mission to help your family stay healthy and happy. That’s why we offer numerous vaccines. Contact our office to learn more about your child’s vaccination schedule, or any travel immunizations you may require. Call today or book an appointment online.