April Featured Story – Fact vs. Fiction: The Truth About Vaccinations

World Immunization Week is celebrated globally in April, beginning Monday the 23rd! The theme this year is “Protected Together”, and the team at Metro would like to take this opportunity to de-bunk some of the myths surrounding vaccinations, and encourage all of our patients to stay up to date on their immunizations; because #VaccinesWork!

1. Fiction: “Vaccines make people sick(er)”:

This is a common phrase that is usually thrown around during flu season, and is undeniably untrue.

Fact: The CDC reports that though some vaccines do cause mild disease-like symptoms in some individuals, it is only about 1 in one million cases that this occurs.

Fact: Vaccines actually make less people sick! In fact, a 2016 report stated that vaccines prevent between 2-3 million deaths globally each year!

2. Fiction: “Vaccines contain toxins that are harmful to people”:

Okay, yes; some vaccines do contain ingredients such as mercury and formaldehyde that are considered “cancer-causing” when people are exposed in large, prolonged doses.

Fact: These ingredients are present in such minuscule amounts that they are not causing any harm to you or your child. Formaldehyde is used in very small doses (0.005-0.1 mg) to inactivate the disease that it is trying to vaccinate against. In fact, your infant is born with between 12 and 240 times more formaldehyde in their blood than they receive in one vaccine.

Fact: Mercury is used in very small doses in vaccines as a preservative. One vaccine contains the same amount of mercury found the single can of tuna that you fed your child for lunch yesterday.

3. Fiction: “I live in a developed country; I don’t need to worry about staying vaccinated!”:

If only that were the case! Unfortunately, the anti-vaxxing movement has been encouraging people to stop vaccinating their children, which has caused preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chicken pox to make a comeback.

Fact: The CDC reported that measles was eradicated in 2000. After the 2004 (now de-bunked) article by Andrew Wakefield which postulated a link between vaccines and autism, measles has made a return. There were 667 cases of measles reported in 2014, just 14 years after the disease was considered to be eliminated in the U.S.

4. “Myself and my child will be protected via ‘herd immunity’:

Fact: The “herd immunity” category is designed to protect those in the community who cannot receive vaccinations for health reasons, such as HIV positive individuals, newborn babies, and individuals going through cancer treatments. Some studies report that “herd immunity” is only effective if 90% of the population or more are properly vaccinated. By opting out of vaccinating your children, you’re not only putting them at risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases (like chicken pox and measels), but you’re also contributing to the possible spread of these diseases to members of the community who do not have the option to protect themselves via immunizations.

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If you have questions about immunizations, please ask your provider at your next appointment and they will be happy to explain how vaccines work and why we should all be “Protected Together”. Follow the global conversation on the topic by following the #VaccinesWork tag!

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