Immunizations: The Facts and Myths

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The best way to stay healthy and keep on living an amazing, active life is to prevent disease before it even starts. One of the most effective tools in modern medicine we have for preventing disease is vaccination. But even in our modern age, there are many misconceptions and myths about vaccines among the general public, even when most doctors are in agreement. Let’s clear up those rumors with some scientific facts:

 

Facts About Immunizations For Babies and Children:

  • All immunizations go through extensive testing and are approved by the FDA for safety.
  • Though diseases like polio and mumps are rare in the U.S. they are still thriving in other parts of the world. Having these vaccines keeps the viruses from spreading or coming back.
  • Side effects from immunizations are minor, such as a slight fever or swelling near the injection site. Rumors that immunizations cause autism or death in children has been extensively researched and disproved in 2004 by the Institute of Medicine. 
  • It’s okay for babies to receive multiple vaccinations before the age of 1. It can actually be harmful to delay a child’s vaccinations unnecessarily.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that making sure your child is fully immunized will reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 50%.

A chart of when it’s appropriate to get your baby, child, or teen vaccinated is provided in the sidebar (or, if you’re on mobile, at the bottom of this page).

 

And Adults Need Immunizations Too!

It’s a common misconception that only children need vaccines. While it is true that many vaccines received before adulthood last a lifetime, some vaccines need boosting because your immunity can fade over time. There also could be a new vaccine may be available that was not available when they were children or some vaccines are only given to adults. Additionally, an adult that was not vaccinated as a child should still get vaccinated as an adult. A chart of when to get vaccinated as an adult is listed in the sidebar (or, if you’re on mobile, at the bottom of this page).

Certain medical conditions also require new or additional vaccinations to ensure a robust immunity such as heart disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and more. Some vaccines are not healthy for pregnant women, so make sure to inform your physician if you are pregnant or may become pregnant before getting vaccinated.

 

The Indirect Benefit: Community Immunity (Herd Immunity)

Community immunity or herd immunity is when so many members of a community are immune to a disease that there is very small chance for a sudden outbreak of that disease. This is important because not everyone can get vaccinated or become immune to certain preventable diseases, such as pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, the elderly, or infants. Even though these individuals are not immune themselves, the community as a whole can protect those vulnerable by never getting the disease in the first place. Thus, the disease has no way to reach those that are vulnerable. You can read more about community immunity here.

Interested in getting vaccinated or finding out if you need any vaccines? Call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-227-8478 for questions or to make an appointment.

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