7 Myths About Vaccines

Posted October 25, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 5 min read

Vaccines are an effective means of preventing life-threatening illnesses by boosting the body’s natural immune response to diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. Vaccine programs throughout the world have led to improved overall health of our population by reducing the transmission of disease, permanent and temporary disability, and infant mortality.

Myth 1: Vaccines contain many harmful ingredients.


  • Vaccines contain ingredients that allow the product to be safely administered.

  • Any substance can be harmful in significantly high doses, even water.

  • Vaccines contain ingredients at a dose that is even lower than the dose we are naturally exposed to in our environment.

  • Thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound, is a widely-used preservative for vaccines that are manufactured in multi-dose vials.

  • We are naturally exposed to mercury in milk, seafood, and contact lens solutions.

  • There is no evidence to suggest that the amount of thimerosal used in vaccines poses a health risk.

  • Many vaccines are now produced in single-dose vials, which has greatly decreased the use of thimerosal in vaccine production.

  • Formaldehyde, another vaccine ingredient, is in automobile exhaust, household products and furnishings, such as carpets, upholstery, cosmetics, paint and felt-tip markers, and in health products, such as antihistamines, cough drops and mouthwash.

Myth 2: Vaccines cause autism and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


  • Vaccines are very safe.

  • Most vaccine reactions are usually temporary and minor, such as a fever or sore arm.

  • It is rare to experience a very serious health event following a vaccination, but these events are carefully monitored and investigated.

  • You are far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine.

  • For example, polio can cause paralysis, measles can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and blindness, and some vaccine-preventable diseases can even result in death.

  • The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risk, and without vaccines many more injuries and deaths would occur. -

  • Science has not yet determined the cause of autism and SIDS.

  • These diagnoses are made, though, during the same age range that children are receiving their routine immunizations.

  • The 1998 study that raised concerns about a possible link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism was retracted by the journal that published it because it was significantly flawed by bad science.

  • There is no evidence to link vaccines as the cause of autism or SIDS.

Myth 3: A child can actually get the disease from a vaccine.


  • A vaccine causing complete disease would be extremely unlikely.

  • Most vaccines are inactivated (killed) vaccines, which makes it impossible to contract the disease from the vaccine.

  • A few vaccines contain live organisms, and when vaccinated with live vaccines, it may lead to a mild case of the disease.

  • Chickenpox vaccine, for example, can cause a child to develop a mild rash.

  • This isn’t harmful, and can actually show that the vaccine is working.

  • One exception was the live oral polio vaccine, which could very rarely mutate and actually cause a case of polio.

  • However, the oral polio vaccine is no longer administered in the United States.

Myth 4: The COVID-19 vaccines were not tested before approval.


  • There are basically two aspects to vaccine testing.

  • The first test is whether or not the vaccine is safe.

  • The second test is how effective the vaccine is at preventing disease or preventing a severe course of the disease. Many people were surprised and suspicious as to how fast vaccines for COVID-19 were developed.

  • However, the world scientific community has had many years of experience in the development and testing of many kinds of vaccines, including those for previous coronaviruses similar to the one that causes COVID-19.

  • Therefore, scientists had a very good idea where to begin regarding the development of the various COVID-19 vaccines currently available and even those still undergoing testing.

  • The relatively rapid development of vaccines was no surprise to the experts in the field.

  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been thoroughly tested for safety and how effective they are at preventing disease.

Myth 5: COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA.


  • The first two COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States were mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer).

  • The mRNA that is used in these vaccines is a template for making virus proteins that then stimulate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that will lead to immunity to the virus.

  • mRNA is rapidly degraded and is not integrated into the individual’s own DNA, so it will not alter the genetic code of the individual.

Myth 6: Since I already had COVID-19 and recovered, I do not need to be vaccinated.


  • There is not enough information available to determine how long immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus will last after recovering from the infection.

  • Studies are ongoing to determine how long natural immunity lasts, however, there is some evidence that immunity may not last long.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that you receive a COVID-19 vaccine when you are eligible regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 disease.

  • You should schedule your vaccine after quarantine or isolation time is complete.

  • For patients who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 disease, you should wait 90 days before getting the vaccine.

Myth 7: I don’t need to vaccinate my child because all the other children around them are already immune.


  • Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, reducing the chance of an outbreak.

  • Infants, pregnant women and immunocompromised people who cannot receive vaccines depend on this type of protection.

  • However, if enough people rely on herd immunity as the method of preventing infection from vaccine-preventable diseases, herd immunity will soon disappear.

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