As flu season approaches, myth season does too.
Every year, various myths about immunizations float around, with some taking root in people’s minds. The upshot of these myths is that many people who should be vaccinated to protect themselves from diseases are instead left unvaccinated, increasing their risk of becoming seriously ill.
At Physicians Medical Primary Care, we want to help you separate myth from fact, so here are a few common myths about immunizations and facts to debunk the myths. One note: vaccination is the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to prevent it from disease, while immunization is the process by which a person becomes protected against disease. While they have slightly different definitions, the two terms are used interchangeably.
Myth: Vaccines cause the diseases they’re supposed to prevent.
Fact: Vaccines don’t cause diseases because they have inactive or attenuated (weakened) versions of the virus they protect you against. The inactive virus tricks your body into producing antibodies to protect itself against the disease. This process may cause a low fever or mild swelling, but you’re not getting the disease.
Myth: My children don’t need immunization against diseases that have been eliminated in the United States.
Fact: Vaccines have helped to eliminate and dramatically reduce many diseases in the US, but this isn’t necessarily the case in other countries around the world. If you come into contact with someone with the disease, you’re much more at risk than if you were vaccinated.
Myth: Kids shouldn’t receive multiple vaccines at once — the schedule is too aggressive and should be spaced out.
Fact: The immunization schedule has been determined by decades of medical evidence and is designed to protect your kids as soon as possible against diseases that are most deadly in the young. Grouping shots together also means fewer office visits for you and your child.
Myth: Not vaccinating my child only affects my child.
Fact: This is not true. This might be true if your child were the ONLY child in the entire country not to be immunized. But they’re not. The concept of herd immunity says that if a majority of a population is immunized, it’s difficult for a disease to spread to the few remaining people who aren’t immunized. The problem occurs when the number of immunized people drops below that threshold, and the number of unprotected people rises. The 2022 outbreaks of measles and mumps illustrate this point — you don’t live in a vacuum, so your actions affect those around you.
To find out more about why immunizations are important, or to schedule your immunizations, call Physicians Medical Primary Care for an appointment or book your appointment online for any one of our three offices.