National Immunization Awareness Month is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of getting up to date on your vaccines. Even though immunizations are mostly associated with kids, adults also require a number of vaccines to keep them safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, there are a number of myths that persist around immunizations and this can lead to misinformed decisions. Let’s cover some of the most common myths about vaccines and the truths behind them. If you have additional questions or concerns, be sure to contact your visiting physician services.
Myth: Vaccines can overload a young child’s immune system.
From birth to 18 years of age, children receive an average of 16 vaccines. However, this will not overload the immune system or increase the risk for infection. In fact, the immune system experiences far more “shock” when a baby is born because it’s going from a sterile environment to a bacteria-filled one.
Myth: Vaccines cause autism in children.
There is no link between receiving vaccines and developing autism. Childhood vaccines are safe for most children. The mercury-based preservative thimerosal has also been removed or reduced to trace amounts as a precaution (with the exception of some flu vaccines).
Myth: Adults don’t need vaccines.
Immunizations are not just for children. Adults need them, too. Some childhood vaccines wear off over time, while others are recommended based on age, lifestyle and underlying health conditions. Adults 50 and over usually need the following:
- Shingles vaccine
- Pneumonia vaccine
- Flu vaccine
- COVID-19 vaccine
- Td or Tdap vaccine
Myth: Vaccines contain toxic ingredients.
Vaccines do not contain ingredients for the sake of it. Each ingredient has a specific purpose such as to provide immunity, keep the vaccine safe or prevent contamination. You can find a list of the additives used in common vaccines here.
Myth: Vaccines have damaging or long-term side effects.
Vaccines go through extensive processes to ensure they are safe. Some people might experience short-term side effects like a low-grade fever, chills and muscle aches. But these symptoms are temporary and meant to get your immune system ready to fight if it’s exposed to the virus.
Myth: Vaccines are not necessary in low-risk areas.
Even in low-risk areas, it’s still recommended to be fully vaccinated. The viruses and bacteria that can make us sick are still around. When most people are vaccinated, we’re able to reach herd immunity, which occurs when enough people become immune to a disease. This protects people who cannot be vaccinated, such as the very young or immunocompromised.
Get Your Vaccinations Up to Date!
While fears of immunizations are understandable, it’s important to make decisions based on facts. Research shows that most of our fears are unfounded. To discuss your immunization status and how to get caught up with your vaccines, contact VNA Health today.