Myths and Facts About Immunizations
When you start to research immunizations, the amount of information and opinions out there can be overwhelming. Not everything you read is correct, though, so our team of expert providers at Arlington Family Practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, wants to pass along some knowledge to help you discern what’s myth and what’s fact when it comes to immunizations. We’ve provided immunizations for years, so here’s what we want you to know (note that the terms “vaccines” and “vaccinations” are often used interchangeably with “immunization”): Myth: Only kids need vaccines Fact: Your immunity can decrease over time, so you may need a booster as an adult, especially if you missed any shots as a child. You should always keep your protection from tetanus and whooping cough current, and adults also need the yearly flu vaccine. If you’re 60 or older, you should get the shingles vaccine; if you’re 65 or older, you should get the two pneumococcal vaccines. Myth: Healthy kids don’t need to be immunized Fact: Even healthy children become seriously ill, need to be admitted to the hospital, and die as a result of preventable illnesses. This was a common occurrence before vaccines were developed; the idea behind a vaccine is to prevent healthy kids from getting certain diseases, so even healthy kids should get the proper vaccines. Myth: Vaccines cause the sickness they’re designed to prevent Fact: This myth is common during flu season because many other respiratory diseases are also prevalent at the same time. The truth is that neither the flu shot (which contains inactive influenza) or the nasal spray (which contains a weakened version of influenza) causes you to develop influenza. For other approved vaccines, the chance of developing the disease the vaccine prevents is minimal to impossible. Myth: I don’t need to get vaccinated against diseases that have been wiped out in the United States Fact: Some of these diseases are still active in other parts of the world, and even diseases that we’ve wiped out in the US still occasionally have outbreaks (such as measles). You should stay up to date with your vaccines for these diseases to protect yourself and your community. Myth: Since vaccines aren’t 100% effective, I don’t need to get them Fact: Most vaccines work 85%-99% of the time, so they’re still the best way to keep from getting certain diseases, even if they’re not 100% effective. And even if you do get a disease that’s normally prevented by a vaccine, it’s likely less serious than if you hadn’t been immunized.