Top Ten Facts about Vaccines and Vaccine Safety
Fact 1: Vaccines are safe.
In Fact, vaccines are held to the highest standard of safety. Extensive testing is required before a vaccine can be licensed for use. Once in use, vaccines are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history.
Fact 2: Vaccines do not cause autism.
The clear consensus in the scientific community is that there is no association between vaccination and autism. Research shows autism rates are the same in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. More than twenty studies have tested hundreds of thousands of children and found no link between autism and vaccines. The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization say that there is no connection between vaccines and autism.
Fact 3: Combination vaccines, or giving multiple vaccines at the same time, are safe.
Before combination vaccines are licensed for use, extensive studies are done to ensure safety and effectiveness. Similar studies are done before multiple vaccines are recommended to be given at the same time. Both practices are safe.
Fact 4: Vaccines do not contain mercury (thimerosal).
Thimerosal was removed from all routine child vaccines in 2001. In addition, extensive research has failed to show any consistent link between thimerosal in vaccines and any health condition, including autism.
Fact 5: Children still need to be vaccinated from the same diseases we had when we were children.
Recent history continues to demonstrate that when vaccination rates dip in the population, these diseases can rebound. Smallpox is the only disease that has been eliminated worldwide and against which we no longer need to be vaccinated.
Fact 6: Vaccination is not just for children.
Vaccine-preventable diseases are a threat throughout our lives. Adolescents need boosters for many childhood diseases. Some college age students need protection from meningitis. Adults need vaccines against shingles and pneumonia. Everyone older than 6 months of age needs flu vaccine and, especially for those around infants, the pertussis vaccine is recommended.
Fact 7: Vaccine is the best way to bolster our immune systems and protect us from disease.
Research has shown repeatedly that vaccination is by far the safest and most effective way to avoid infection with vaccine-preventable diseases. Frequent hand washing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can further reduce your chances of becoming seriously ill.
Fact 8: It’s not just the elderly who need to be vaccinated against the flu.
Everyone 6 months old and older should get the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are especially important for people who fall within high-risk groups, including the elderly, pregnant women, young children and individuals with certain underlying health conditions. Children are two-to-three times more likely to develop influenza than adults. The H1N1 influenza pandemic was a reminder of how serious influenza can be. In 2009-2010 infants less than 1 year old had the highest rates of hospitalization from H1N1, and adults 50 and older, with underlying medical conditions, were mostly likely to die from the virus once they were hospitalized.
Fact 9: You cannot get the flu through vaccination.
The injectable flu vaccine does not contain a live virus and cannot transmit the flu. The nasal spray flu vaccine has a weakened form of the virus that is unable to cause illness or spread like the normal virus. The likelihood of experiencing any flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine is extremely low.
Fact 10: Vaccines do not overwhelm the immune system.
Before a vaccine is licensed, extensive studies are done to ensure that the vaccine produces an effective immune response and does not overwhelm the immune system when given alone, in combination with other vaccines, or, if necessary, in multiple doses over time. The current schedule of recommended vaccinations for all ages is safe for most people. Please check with your health care provider if you have any medical conditions, including allergies to certain vaccines, blood disorders or cancer, or if your immune system is compromised.