Dispelling Myths: 4 Facts About Immunizations

By Timothy Larsen MD

I am passionate about dispelling myths and explaining to parents what we do know about immunizations.

Dr girl

Some of the most common questions I get when speaking to parents involve immunizations. I am passionate about dispelling myths and explaining to parents what we do know about immunizations.

Here are some of the things that the research tells us:

  1. Vaccines are effective. Next to running water and public sanitation, they are quite possibly the most successful health intervention of all time. Immunizations have dramatically decreased the incidence of deadly diseases like measles, polio, and pertussis, and in other cases eliminated diseases like small pox.
  2. Vaccines are generally very safe. There can be some mild side effects of vaccines, the most common being low-grade fever and redness or tenderness at the injection site. More serious reactions are extremely rare.
  3. Vaccines are not associated with autism. This is one of the most common misconceptions we hear. The study that suggested a link involved 13 kids. It was funded by malpractice lawyers. Further investigation showed that the doctor making the claims had falsified data. Dozens of studies done since involving hundreds of thousands of children have failed to show any link.
  4. Adverse reactions to vaccines are monitored very closely. Immunizations go through a higher standard of safety than many prescriptions both before and after licensure. The Centers for Disease Control has set up the VAERS system for doctors, parents, and patients to report any adverse reactions, allowing scientists to continuously monitor for safety concerns.

There are numerous requirements for kindergarteners and seventh graders entering public schools in Utah. For a complete list, check http://www.immunize-utah.org or talk to your child’s healthcare provider.