Vaccines are effective in keeping life-threatening diseases at bay. They boost the body’s immunity and equip it to fight off viral and bacterial attacks in a better manner.Vaccination programs all over the world have helped eradicate many diseases and have significantly reduced the occurrence of others. Even though vaccines are safe as well as effective, there is lack of awareness. Here are some common vaccination myths and facts concerning them. Read on to make more informed choices.
Fact: All ingredients in vaccines are added to help the product’s safe administration. These ingredients such as mercury, aluminum, and thimerosal are widely accepted preservatives and are naturally occurring compounds that we get even from our food sources. They are used in such minuscule quantities that they do not pose any health threat.
Fact: Most diseases for which we receive immunization are very serious and can cause severe side effects, long lasting damage, and even death. Many of them have no cure. Therefore immunization is our only defense against some of them.
Fact: Vaccines do not lead to any of these diseases and are extremely safe. The only side effects of vaccines are minor fever, swelling, and pain. While the severe side effects of vaccines can be extremely rare, the benefits of vaccines are widespread, many, and established. Therefore, it is better to vaccinate and protect your child from life-threatening diseases rather than not take it out of fear of contacting a rare condition.
Fact: Due to immunization programs many diseases have become rare. However, it does not mean that they have been completely eradicated. What is rare in your part of the world might still be prevalent in other countries. Therefore, it is best to get immunized.
Fact: It is vital to understand that all diseases against which vaccines have been developed and administered are relatively serious ailments with severe complications. Therefore, it is unwise to take a chance of contacting these diseases, which can prove life threatening as well. When vaccination is administered the immune system is stimulated to produce a response similar to what it would do in case of an infection, but it is not a real infection. The reactions are very mild and do not pose any threat.
Fact: This kind of an approach called herd immunity works only when there are mass immunization drives held against any contagious disease. In such a case pregnant women, infants, and those with a compromised immune system remain protected due to herd immunization. However, if people start making this a practice this mass immunity will soon disappear and become ineffective.
Fact: Vaccines are administered to babies so that they are protected from an early age when their immune system is still developing. Babies respond well to vaccinations and there is no difference observed in severity of side effects in babies and older kids. You can even opt for painless vaccinations these days.
Fact: A vaccine causing a complete disease itself is extremely unlikely. Most vaccines are inactivated (killed) vaccines and it isn’t possible to contract the disease from the vaccine. A few vaccines contain live organisms, and when vaccinated lead to a mild case of the disease. Chickenpox vaccine, for example, can cause a child to develop a rash, but only with a few spots. This isn’t harmful, and it actually shows that the vaccine is working. One exception was the live oral polio vaccine, which could very rarely mutate and actually cause a case of polio. However, oral polio vaccine is no longer administered in the United States.
Fact: This is thought only to reduce the number of pricks a child gets. However, with combination vaccines such as MMR (offers protection from measles, mumps, and rubella) or the 5-in-1 Pentavalent vaccines (diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and Hib) that offer protection from three or five diseases in a single shot it is better to get vaccinated in one go.
It is therefore, always better to get your child vaccinated according to the age wise vaccination schedule provided by your pediatrician.
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