5 Common Vaccine Myths Debunked
Posted: Sep 11th, 2019 at 12:00AM
The vaccine debate is alive and well but unfortunately, it's built on a foundation of misinformation and confusion, made worse by social media and the group known as "anti-vaxxers." Misconceptions about vaccines being not only counterproductive but downright dangerous continue to add fuel to the fire, and it's time we eliminate them once and for all. Here are five common vaccine myths busted.
5 Common Vaccine Myths That Need to Go
Myth #1: Vaccines Can Be Dangerous for Your Health
Vaccines, particularly the flu shot, have gotten the reputation for being a huge risk to recipients' health. For instance, there's a widespread belief that vaccines can cause autism. However, research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found vaccines do not cause autism, and even Autism Speaks echoes this conclusion.
This claim is based on a fabricated study from many years ago linking the two, which has since been proven entirely false. Vaccines do not cause autism.
Are some people at risk for having a severe negative reaction to vaccines? Yes, but as the CDC notes, this is a very rare exception to the rule. More than likely, the only reaction you'll experience (if any) is slight redness and soreness at the place of the injection. This can happen to anyone, and there's absolutely nothing to be alarmed about.
Myth #2: Vaccines Can Give You the Illness They're Supposed to Prevent
To debunk this myth, it helps to first understand how vaccines work. Vaccines are made from some of the same germs that cause the disease they work to fight. However, the germs in the vaccines have been killed or weakened. So, while they teach your body to build up an immunity to them, they won't make you sick. The vaccine is just enough to teach your body what the virus looks like, so that it's able to recognize the virus in the future and protect you from it.
You don't need to get sick in order for this to happen and vaccines to be effective. Plain and simple, that's not how vaccines work.
The CDC says a person will "almost never" get the disease the vaccine is supposed to protect you against. Now, if you get a vaccine where the bacteria are alive, you could possibly have a slight reaction. However, if that happens, it's typically very mild.
Myth #3: Good Personal Hygiene is Sufficient
"You don't need vaccines. Wash your hands and keep them away from your face!" Maybe you've heard that one before. We need to talk about this.
The importance of good hygiene — as well as better sanitation and nutrition — cannot be dismissed. Without it, we are even more at risk of disease. However, this alone is not sufficient in fighting disease and cannot take credit for the decreased risk of illness the United States has seen over the years.
Look at the measles, for instance. The CDC says before the measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, there were 400,000 reported cases of the disease every year in the U.S. — and these were only reported cases. They write the number was probably closer to 3.5 million each year. After the vaccine became available, though, the number of reported cases of measles dropped more than 99%.
To be clear, this wasn't a result of more dedicated hand-washing, although that certainly won't hurt matters.
Still don't believe us? Just look at what's happening with the current measles outbreak we're experiencing. In communities where vaccine exemption rates are higher, so are rates of measles. This is not a coincidence.
Polio has a similar history. Because of the vaccine, it was eliminated from the western hemisphere back in 1994.
The data speaks for itself. Over and over (and over) again, studies prove that vaccines lower the rates of illness. Period.
Myth #4: Disease Rates Are So Low, We Don't Need Vaccines Anymore
Are you familiar with something called herd immunity? In a nutshell, it means if most of a population is immune to a disease, those who are not immune — meaning people who haven't been vaccinated — are safe as well. Herd immunity is a good thing because it means people who can't get vaccinated — like the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and people with certain health conditions — should still be safe.
However, herd immunity will no longer work in our favor if too many people go unvaccinated. ABC News once reported over two million people might not be getting their vaccinations on time. This could be because of a lack of affordable access, or possibly because of the segment of the population convinced vaccines are dangerous.
The more people fail to get vaccinated, the more the entire population is at risk. Factor in international travel — which is becoming more popular and introduces entirely new risks, due to countries that have high risks of diseases not prevalent in the U.S. and you're looking at a very widespread, significant problem for the health of our people. (This is yet another good reason to visit one of the many travel vaccination centers in your area before you leave the country.)
This is a good time to remind you that you don't just get vaccinated for your own health. You do it for the people around you. Like it or not, we all have a responsibility to help keep each other healthy. Getting vaccinated may seem like a personal choice, but it's one with undoubtedly widespread implications.
Myth #5: Vaccines Contain Dangerous and Toxic Ingredients
Understandably, there is concern over some of the ingredients in vaccines, which may include mercury, formaldehyde, and aluminum. While it sounds alarming to put these things into your body, bear in mind that they occur is such small amounts in vaccines that they can't harm you.
In fact, the FDA and CDC have said that our bodies actually produce more formaldehyde than what you'll find in vaccines.
Don't let these myths stop you from getting vaccinated. Protect yourself and others. If you're looking for a vaccine center in Las Vegas or Chicago, contact e7 Health to schedule an appointment today.
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