There are many myths about vaccines that have formed as a result of members of the public misunderstanding facts or jumping to conclusions. Here we debunk 6 common vaccine myths so that you can make an informed vaccine decision.
Vaccine Myth #1: As long as other children are getting vaccinated, mine don’t need to.
Vaccines actually offer another layer of protection when about 80-90%% of people within a community are immunised. When this level of immunisation is achieved, we can prevent the spread of the disease and epidemics. This effect is called herd immunity.
By not immunising, you are reducing the percentage of immunised people within the community, thus losing herd immunity and increasing the risk of epidemics.
Vaccine Myth #2: My child’s immune system will be overwhelmed by so many vaccines.
No, vaccines will not overwhelm your child’s immune system, as it is able to respond to multiple challenges. In fact, on a daily basis, your child’s immune system is exposed to many foreign antigens (substances not found naturally in the body) through activities such as eating, drinking and playing.
In comparison, vaccines contain a much smaller number of antigens. Hence, even when multiple vaccines are given at the same time or within a short period, they will not harm your child’s immune system.
Vaccine Myth #3: It’s best to wait until my child is older before getting him or her vaccinated.
The immunisation schedule is designed to protect children when they are most vulnerable. If you do not vaccinate them when they are due, you may miss the window of opportunity to protect them. Children’s vaccines are generally scheduled for the age when your child’s immune system will respond best to each vaccine. In addition, vaccine scheduling also follows the principle that children need protection at the earliest age possible, when the disease most commonly affects them.
Vaccine Myth #4: Vaccines are dangerous because they are made of germs.
Vaccines only use parts of a germ or whole germs that have been killed or weakened. In the manufacturing process, numerous procedures have been taken to ensure that the vaccine is safe.
Furthermore, before a vaccine is approved for use in any country, internal and external verification of vaccine safety is undertaken to ensure it is suitable for use. Surveys continue even after the introduction of new vaccines. All adverse reactions are continuously reported after the vaccines are in general use.
Vaccine Myth #5: The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism in children.
This claim came from a study that was proven to be false and fraudulent. Additionally, there have been many studies done in numerous countries to determine whether there is any truth to this claim. In 14 years, none of these studies could find any evidence linking vaccines to autism. Natural measles infections do not cause autism, it is therefore not possible for the weakened measles vaccine to cause it.
Vaccine Myth #6: The Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTP) vaccine causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Some parents claimed that SIDS occurred one ore two days after DTP vaccination. This is a common misunderstanding that one event that follows another must be caused by the event that preceded it. In fact, SIDS commonly occurs in the age range that babies get most of their immunisation shots. Many studies have shown that vaccinated children are no more likely to get SIDS than children who are not vaccinated.