Vaccines play an important role in strengthening the immune system of a human body. It helps in fighting many diseases
There are some myths and facts that prevail. Awareness of these myths and facts will help us take the right decision while we decide to take a vaccination.
Here we go:
- Vaccines Contain Mercury
Some have feared that vaccines contain mercury and can cause autism. Thimerosal is a preservative that contains about 50% mercury, but it has not been used in routine vaccines for children younger than 6 years of age since 2001. Both the flu shot and some vaccines for adults and older children can be found in Thimerosal-free versions, or with only trace amounts.
- Vaccines Can Have Side Effects
True. Seizures can occur in one in 14,000 children after a DTaP shot, or one in 3,000 after MMR. Some children are at higher risk than others. Patients should follow their doctor’s advice. Soreness at the injection site and fever are best treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- You Are Safe if Everyone Else is Vaccinated
This is the “herd” theory: if there are fewer unimmunized patients, any individual is less likely to become infected. Unfortunately, not all patients get immunized. Some cannot be vaccinated due to health or age restrictions. Children of like-minded unvaccinated families often choose the same preschools, playgroups, and schools, making it easy for vaccine-preventable diseases to spread. Unvaccinated individuals can also be infected by organisms like tetanus and hepatitis A from contaminated soil or food, not just from another person.
- Vaccines Guarantee Protection
This is not true, as demonstrated by seasonal flu. Those who get the shot may still get the flu but it will be less severe, with far less likelihood of hospitalization or death. The chickenpox vaccine is approximately 80% effective in preventing infection and 100% effective in preventing serious illness.
- Too Many Shots Weaken the Immune System
This is absolutely false. Each dose stimulates an immune response and antibodies that fight infection. Multiple vaccinations at one time provide as much protection as early as possible. It has found that giving children multiple vaccinations at one visit causes less crying and pain over the long haul.
- Vaccines are For Kids Only
It can be difficult to convince a 40-year-old who has never had influenza to get the vaccine. Annual flu shots are now indicated for everyone older than 6 months of age because of the different variations of the flu bug that go around each year. College students should get a meningitis vaccine, especially before living in a dormitory. Elderly adults can benefit significantly from pneumonia vaccines. Adults need boosters for tetanus and pertussis.
- Pregnant Women Should Not Receive Vaccines
This depends upon the vaccine. Live vaccines such as varicella and MMR should wait until after the pregnancy. The CDC, as well as ACOG, recommend the inactivated flu vaccine as safe for all pregnant women as their immune systems are compromised making them more susceptible to the flu. Also, the mother’s antibody production helps to prevent the child from getting the flu in the first six months of life. The mother should also get tetanus/pertussis vaccine with each pregnancy because the immune response to the present pertussis vaccine is less durable.
Beware of the myths and always go by the facts.