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Vaccines 101: Debunking Common Vaccination Myths

Written by
NMS Flu Team
Published on
January 12, 2019 at 11:38:00 AM PST January 12, 2019 at 11:38:00 AM PSTth, January 12, 2019 at 11:38:00 AM PST

A wide variety of misconceptions and myths exist today about vaccinations, largely perpetuated by anti-vaccination supporters. However, not only are the majority of these myths false, they have the potential to cause harm by keeping people from getting much-needed treatment, like flu vaccines and other preventive care. Read on to see these commonly held myths about vaccinations that many of your patients might have so you can correct these misunderstandings.

Myth: Vaccines cause autism.

Fact: This commonly held belief was originally spread by a single paper by one doctor, and this doctor has since had his medical license revoked. There is currently no evidence whatsoever that vaccines cause autism, and several studies have been done to reinforce this. Despite this, it continues to be a widespread myth, even though much of the general public does not know the origins of this myth.

Myth: Natural immunity to disease is better.

Fact: While it is possible to develop natural immunity to disease after an infection, chances are many of the diseases children are immunized against are dangerous enough where it isn't worth the risk. Immunization prevents between two and three million deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization.

Myth: Vaccines contain harmful chemicals.

Fact: While it is true that some types of vaccines contain minuscule amounts of formaldehyde, mercury, or other chemicals, they are never in amounts that could be even potentially harmful to the human body. Additionally, if you're still stuck on the possibility of toxins in vaccines, there are options for preservative-free vaccines available. Ask your doctor about thimerosal-free and preservative-free vaccines next time you're due for an immunization.

Myth: Vaccines aren't necessary anymore.

Fact: Many people believe that vaccines aren't necessary anymore as many more dangerous diseases are nearly eradicated. However, this principle doesn't hold true on a larger scale. Much of the general population is kept protected from dangerous diseases through a concept called "herd immunity," which protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like those with weakened immune systems or the elderly (although there are flu vaccines for seniors with a specific formulation for elders). If too many people in the general population went unvaccinated, herd immunity would not work, and infection rates would skyrocket.

Fully understanding the common myths about vaccines can help keep your patients safe by encouraging them to get vaccinated. Make sure to debunk any of these common myths that your patients may have at their next appointment.