Improve Your Health

Five Myths About Vaccines

About The Author

Carrie Verbeten

Lead Pharmacist

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network

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There’s an abundance of health information available online, however it’s not always accurate – especially concerning vaccines. When it comes to your health, you can’t afford to be misinformed. Let’s debunk five common myths about vaccines:

Myth 1: Vaccines aren’t necessary

It’s a common misconception that natural infection provides better immunity. Although natural infection does provide immunity, it comes at a high cost. People today don’t remember the diseases vaccines protect against were infecting communities and causing organ damage, deafness, scarring and even death. Vaccines are one of the most effective and affordable interventions and can prevent a lifetime of suffering and side effects.

Myth 2: Vaccines kill your immune system

Many people believe that vaccines – especially getting several at one time – will kill your immune system. This leads to skipped immunizations, especially for the youngest patients. An important thing to keep in mind is today’s vaccines contain fewer antigens and are fine-tuned so you only get the amount you need. The result is protection against disease without compromised immunity.

Myth 3: Vaccines cause autism

This misconception is based off an old study that has been proven to be false. Vaccines are not connected to autism and are considered safe for the general population.

Myth 4: Vaccines should be spaced out

Parents sometimes space out vaccines believing it’s safer for their kids, but this ends up delaying the vaccine schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also increases the risk children will be exposed to the diseases you’re trying to prevent.

Myth 5: Vaccines provide lifelong protection

Some vaccines require a booster after a set number of years. For example, you’ll need a tetanus vaccine every 10 years for maximum effectiveness. With the recent measles outbreak, there’s been discussion about who should get a booster. If you were born after 1957, check in with your primary care provider to find out if you still have immunity against the disease and consider getting a booster, especially if your plans include traveling to an area affected by an outbreak.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to learn what vaccines you need and when. You can also learn more about travel vaccines and which ones you need depending on where you’re going and what activities you’ll be doing.

There are several places you can get vaccinated. Your primary care provider is an option as is your local health department. Another option is your local pharmacy. You usually don’t need an appointment at the pharmacy and evening and weekend hours often make this the most convenient option.

To learn more about vaccines, talk to your primary care provider or local pharmacist. To find a primary care provider near you, contact your health insurance provider.

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