Myths and Facts About Vaccines

Nov 15, 2022
Vaccines provide your body with biological armor to keep you safe from dangerous germs and infections. Yet their use is still widely misunderstood. In this post, we dispel some of the most common myths about immunizations.

Vaccines help people of all ages stay healthy by giving their bodies the tools they need to fight off common and uncommon germs. Yet some people are wary of vaccines, in part because of misinformation and misunderstanding regarding how they work.

As a leading family practice in Alexandria and Lansdowne, Virginia, CN Internal Medicine offers vaccines for patients of all ages, including booster shots to maintain vaccine effectiveness. Here’s what our team wants you to know about vaccines and the key role they play in keeping you healthy.

Myth: Vaccines weaken the immune system

When you’re born, you have some built-in immunity that you got from your mother. But you aren’t immune to all diseases. Vaccines actually make the immune system stronger by supplementing your body’s natural immunity.

How? By triggering your body’s immune system, stimulating it to produce antibodies that help fight off the disease in the future. These antibodies act like keys to unlock germs’ defenses, allowing your immune system to destroy those germs and prevent dangerous infections.

Myth: Vaccines cause illnesses

Vaccines do not cause illnesses — they help prevent them. Because vaccines trigger your immune system to become active, it’s not uncommon to feel fatigued or to develop a mild fever in some instances. 

These aren’t signs of a developing illness. Rather, they’re a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do: producing chemicals to fight off future diseases. These mild side effects subside within a day or two, along with any soreness at or near the injection site.

Myth: Vaccines cause autism

Vaccines do not cause autism. In fact, this is a rumor that began from two old studies that were flawed in their design and execution. Since then, multiple studies have demonstrated no link between vaccines and autism.

Myth: You only need vaccines during childhood

It’s true that childhood is a time of many vaccinations, but adults need vaccines, too. 

That includes vaccines designed specifically for adults, like the shingles vaccine and pneumonia vaccine, as well as booster doses for vaccines you received during childhood. Other vaccines, like the flu vaccine, need to be given annually to remain effective.

With so many vaccines available, it can be difficult to know which ones you need. Fortunately, the CDC maintains a list of recommended vaccines for people of all ages. Our team follows current guidelines to make individual recommendations to each of our patients.

Myth: Natural immunity is better

It’s true that you can — and do — develop some immunity from day-to-day exposure to germs. But those daily exposures can also make you sick — very sick. Vaccines help you develop immunity without exposing you to potentially life-threatening complications. 

Common childhood diseases like measles and even chickenpox can lead to disability and death. Being vaccinated early against these and other pathogens protects your body and your health without the risks associated with natural exposure.

Staying up to date with vaccines is one of the best ways to prevent illnesses and stay healthy at every age. To learn what vaccines you need to stay healthy, book an appointment online or over the phone with our team at CN Internal Medicine today.