Vaccines are the best protection against many infectious diseases including measles, polio, tetanus, chicken pox and influenza. They have improved the health of infants, children and teens in the United States. Unfortunately, outbreaks of disease that are prevented by vaccines still occur in the United States, largely due to some people not getting all recommended vaccines.
Vaccines work by preparing your immune system with the tools it needs to fight disease. Vaccines are not just for children – they are also for adults. Talk with your doctor to see which vaccines you and your family need.
1. Myth: You can get a disease from a vaccine
Most vaccines are actually a killed version of the virus or bacteria, so it is not possible to get the disease from the vaccine. The killed version of the virus gives your body antigens, which are proteins used to make antibodies that can fight off the disease.
A few vaccines have live organisms such as the chicken pox (varicella) vaccine, which can lead to a mild case of the disease. A child may have a rash but only with a few spots. Generally though live vaccines are well tolerated.
2. Myth: vaccines cause many harmful side effects
Vaccines are actually very safe. They go through years of careful testing to make sure they are safe and effective. Just like any medication, after they are approved, vaccines are monitored for safety. Side effects from vaccines are usually minor and temporary like a sore arm or redness at the injection site that only last a few days.
3. Myth: vaccines don’t prevent disease
Vaccines protect you from disease in a similar way your body builds protection during a natural infection. When a vaccine enters the body, it releases antigens from the disease that allows your body to build the tools it needs to fight it without actually getting the disease. This makes vaccines the most powerful tool to prevent disease.
4. Myth: diseases are a part of childhood. It is better to get the disease than become immune through vaccines
Vaccines protect children and adults from diseases that can be life-threatening or have serious complications. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that can now be prevented by vaccines. For example, 226,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications each year and 36,000 people die from the flu annually. It is safer and more effective to prevent a disease than to treat it.
5. Myth: vaccines cause Autism
Vaccines do not cause autism and vaccine ingredients do not cause autism. Doctors and scientists have studied vaccine safety and consistently found no links between vaccines and autism.
If you have question about vaccines for you or you loved ones, talk to a primary care physician. Call 212-206-2755 to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician at Union Health Center.