5 facts you may not know about vaccines

3 min read

(BPT) – No one wakes up in the morning hoping to be sick. Yet despite the angst people have about becoming ill, many forgo one of the easiest, most effective ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from common and even severe illnesses – they choose not to get vaccinated.

There are many reasons people choose not to get vaccinated. Often, the decision is caused by incorrect information one may read or hear about vaccinations. Mayo Clinic seeks to eliminate these mistruths and offer correct information about vaccinations so people can make safe, healthy choices for themselves and their families.

1. Are vaccines safe?
Safety concerns are the most common question people have regarding vaccines, and it’s also the question where there is the most misinformation. The truth is vaccines are safe and people who receive them enjoy numerous health benefits, including illness prevention. Each vaccine undergoes rigorous testing before being released to the general public to ensure it not only protects against the disease it’s designed to combat, but that it offers no other ill health benefits. Risks associated with vaccines are minor and may include a fever, soreness or skin irritation.

2. Which vaccinations are recommended?
Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many other health care providers recommend people receive the following vaccinations:

* Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis
* Haemophilus Influenza B
* Hepatitis A & B
* Human Papilloma Virus
* Influenza
* Meningococcal
* MMR
* Pneumococcal
* Polio
* Rotavirus
* Varicella, otherwise known as Chickenpox

3. Should vaccinations be spaced out?
The vaccinations above may seem like a large list and it’s natural to wonder if all of these vaccinations should be done at once or spaced out. Sources of misinformation may lead people to believe that tackling several vaccinations at once somehow dilutes them, but there is no evidence of this. In fact, research shows people, even children, are able to take several vaccines at once without any negative effects. Spacing out the vaccines creates unnecessary delays and additional scheduling, while opening a longer window of exposure to illnesses.

4. Understand the difference between vaccination and immunization.
A vaccination is a treatment that introduces weakened or dead bacteria and/or viruses into a person’s body to build up their immunity against the disease. Immunization is the process of developing that immunity. Immunization may happen through vaccination, but it could also come from contracting the bacteria or virus and recovering from the disease.

5. Vaccinations are important for everyone.
For people wondering who should get vaccinated, the short answer is nearly everyone. In particular, vaccinations are especially important for younger people. This is because children, especially young babies, are not inherently equipped to fight many diseases and without vaccinations, otherwise small problems could become serious complications and even be fatal.

Vaccinations remain an often discussed topic and it can be difficult to determine what is fact and what is misinformation. For those with questions, the first step should be to discuss vaccinations with your doctor, who will be able to provide you with the information you need. For more information about vaccinations, visit mayoclinic.org.