Top 3 Vaccination Myths Debunked

VaccinationVaccination has long been a requirement for travel, employment and school attendance due to its obvious implications for disease prevention. The question remains why there are still many resounding oppositions to and myths around such a simple solution for prevention.

Because the internet is full of content that is highly unregulated, misinformation can cause fear and anxiety for many people seeking knowledge on disease prevention and vaccination risks. Therefore, below, we’ve highlighted (and debunked) the top 3 vaccination myths found online:

#1 “With the improved conditions of sanitation and hygiene, there is no need for vaccinations any longer!” (FALSE)

Fact: Although, improved conditions including better hygiene, clean water and disinfectants can lower the occurrence of some diseases, data shows that vaccines are overwhelmingly responsible for the largest drops in disease rates. If people are not vaccinated, so-called old diseases, such as measles, will quickly reappear.

#2   “Giving a child multiple vaccinations for different diseases at the same time increases the risk of harmful side effects and can overload the immune system.” (FALSE)

Fact:  Natural infection with certain viruses can indeed weaken the immune system. This means that when infected with one virus, some people may have trouble fighting off another virus or even other forms of bacteria. This happens most notably in children, during natural infection with either chickenpox or measles. Children infected with chickenpox are susceptible to infection with certain bacterial infections. And children infected with measles are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the bloodstream (sepsis).
But the bacteria contained in vaccines are very different. Those in the measles and chickenpox vaccines, for example, are not the exact same bacteria as those that cause measles and chickenpox infections (the “wild-type” viruses). Vaccine viruses are instead disabled so that they cannot weaken the immune system.

#3 “The diseases have disappeared” (FALSE)

The Center for Disease Control states that “vaccination has enabled us to reduce most vaccine-preventable diseases to very low levels in the United States. However, some of them are still quite prevalent – even epidemic – in other parts of the world. Travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States, and if we were not protected by vaccinations these diseases could quickly spread throughout the population, causing epidemics here. At the same time, the relatively few cases we currently have in the U.S. could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases without the protection we get from vaccines.”

For more information about vaccinations and immunizations please visit Emory University’s Vaccine Center online or visit the Center for Disease Control’s Vaccine and Immunization information page.

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