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Debunking the top 8 vaccination myths

With many parents still wary of vaccinating their children against influenza and other diseases, Time Out Family speaks to four medical experts about common immunisation myths

Debunking the top 8 vaccination myths

Myth: I have allergies so I can’t get vaccines
If you have an allergic reaction, there’s usually a definite cause for that allergy, which is unrelated to getting a vaccine. So just having an allergy is not a reason in itself to not get vaccinated, unless you have had a direct allergic reaction to a certain vaccine, in which case you should not undergo that vaccination.

Myth: I was vaccinated for influenza last year so I don’t need to do it again
The influenza virus has a high rate of mutation, which makes it difficult for the immune system to build up a lasting immunity. The make-up of the vaccination changes every year and will reflect the viruses that have been most common in the previous months. Since the vaccine does not only make it less likely to get influenza, but also shortens the duration of the disease, it is recommended to get vaccinated every year. This is especially true if you belong to an at-risk group – people with chronic diseases, people over 65 years and children under 6 months.

Dr. John Bell is an Internist at Parkway Health

Myth: Children are too young and weak to withstand vaccination
Children aged 6 months can receive flu vaccinations. Other vaccines can be administered at an even earlier age, as most healthy children are able to withstand vaccinations with minimal or no complications. Beginning at birth, children’s immune systems are already starting to mature and become adaptable, as they get exposed to a variety of antigens in their environments. Therefore vaccination is a safe way to boost their immunity against many common childhood diseases.

Myth: Vaccinations have damaging effects in the long term
After extensive and ongoing research regarding vaccinations, there is no hard evidence of vaccines causing long term damage. Vaccines are very safe, with most vaccine reactions being mild and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. You’re more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of vaccines being a safe public health measure and the benefits of the procedure greatly outweigh the risk.

Dr Yonglie Lee is a Family Medicine Physician and Chair of Family Medicine at Shanghai United Family Hospital.

To read more about common vaccination myths, read the full article at http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/family/features/Family-Family_health/31241/Debunking-the-top-8-vaccination-myths.html