Your Child’s Vaccines: Get the Facts

Myth: Vaccines can cause harmful side effects.

Fact: Vaccines are very safe. Most side effects go away soon and are mild. These might include a sore arm or a slight fever.

Over the long term, the benefits are greater than any risks. Vaccines help the body fight off infections and diseases. Children who don’t get their shots are at risk for serious illness.

Your child needs to have shots at certain ages to stay healthy. At your child’s next doctor’s visit, ask what shots are needed.

Myth: Vaccines will make my child sick in other ways.

Fact: Vaccines prevent diseases. They don’t cause them.

There have been many myths that vaccines cause diseases and death. One myth is that the vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But research shows the DTP vaccine does not cause SIDS.

And, vaccines don’t give you diabetes. Nor do they cause autism, a developmental disability.

Myth: Getting several shots at the same time is risky.

Fact: Getting several vaccines at once doesn’t harm a child.

Today, many children get combination shots. This includes MMR, for measles, mumps, and rubella.

Your child will not get more side effects with combination shots. They also work just as well as single shots.

Myth: Vaccines can overpower my child’s defenses against disease.

Fact: Vaccines cannot make a healthy immune system weak. The immune system is what protects your child against disease.

Myth: Vaccines only prevent rare diseases.

Fact: If people don’t get shots, even rare diseases can reappear.

Many years ago, thousands of children died from diseases that now can be prevented. Vaccines have helped reduce these diseases in the United States.

By keeping up to date on shots, we protect ourselves—and others.

Myth: Vaccines have bad ingredients in them.

Fact: Vaccines may have small amounts of chemicals. These include mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde. But in such small amounts, they aren’t unsafe.

Some vaccines contain egg and gelatin. These may cause rare reactions in some people. Before getting a shot, tell your doctor if you or your child is allergic to any medicine or food.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jovino, Louise DO

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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