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Don’t Believe Vaccine Myths

Published in Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Women's Services, Infectious Diseases, Men's Health, For the Health of It Author: Jill Amsberry,DO

There’s a lot of misinformation about vaccines as the United States continues its massive COVID-19 vaccination program, so I want to dispel the many myths about vaccines in general.

Vaccines are among the most heavily studied of all drugs and the evidence shows they are safe and extremely effective.

Vaccines don’t make you sick.

Common side effects, such as fever or pain at the injection site, are often mistaken for illness. Those side effects are the immune system’s response to the components in the vaccine and actually show the body is building immunity to the virus or bacteria.

Vaccines don’t contain toxic ingredients. Mercury and thimerosal, a mercury-containing organic compound, are no longer used in childhood vaccines or in many other vaccines. Safety data shows that even when they’re present, the compounds pose no increased risk of harm.

It’s not a good idea to space out vaccines or, in the case of COVID-19, delay getting the vaccine until the pandemic is over. Any time you space out vaccines, there’s a big risk that you’re providing additional time when you can contract the disease.

Getting multiple vaccines at the same time doesn’t weaken your immune system’s response to them. There’s no need to worry that your body can’t handle multiple vaccinations over a short period of time.

The amount of antigen, or virus protein, in the vaccine is much lower than what you would encounter if you got the infection.

As for the new COVID-19 vaccines, the fact that these vaccines have been developed and approved in short order shouldn’t make people concerned about their safety. The data has been thoroughly looked at in the thousands of people involved in the studies and the rates of adverse effects were exceedingly low.

Natural immunity is not better than vaccine-acquired immunity. The risks and consequences of getting sick far outweigh any potential protection that may come from being infected with a virus. And with COVID-19, we don’t know how long the immunity from getting the infection will last.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more information about COVID-19 vaccines.