Myth: Vaccines could cause horrible side effects
Fact: Vaccines go through rigorous testing before they become available. While there’s a chance you could have mild side effects like bruising or a day of feeling sniffly, a serious side effect is extremely rare, says Jennifer Lighter Fisher, MD, pediatric hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Vaccines are tested in more children over a longer period of time than any other drug before they’re approved by the FDA,” she says. For instance, a recent rotavirus vaccine had a clinical trial of more than 70,000 children before released to the public. Anything on the market has been shown not to cause lasting damage. Don’t skip the human papillomavirus vaccine either—here are HPV myths you shouldn’t believe.
Myth: Some diseases are so rare that there’s no point in getting vaccinated
Fact: Diseases like the measles and polio might be rare in the United States, but they still exist in other parts of the world. “It just takes one unimmunized traveler to bring a disease home from another country,” says Eileen Yamada, MD, public health medical officer with the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch. “If immunization levels drop, the rare cases we have in America could very quickly multiply, putting our children in danger.” Plus, some people, such as cancer patients and newborns, can’t get vaccines, so getting yourself immunized protects not only you but others in your community, Dr. Fisher says.