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Four myths about vaccinating your child

Oct 24, 2016 12:46PM ● Published by Today's Family

Parents hear conflicting views about childhood vaccinations. Some say they’re dangerous.  Others say they make kids healthier.  Who’s right?

The benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any side effects – which are rare, says Elizabeth Pai, MD, a Cleveland Clinic Children’s pediatrician at the Willoughby Hills Family Health Center.  Thanks to vaccines, influenza and chickenpox aren’t as threatening as they once were.  Polio and smallpox no longer exist (in the U.S.). Even some cancers are preventable.

Unfortunately, misinformation about vaccines is still spreading. Learn the truth about these four myths.

Myth 1: Vaccines can cause autism.
Not true. Numerous scientific studies show that there is zero connection between vaccines and autism.  For example, in a study of more than 95,000 children published in 2015, researchers found no link between having the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and developing autism – even in children at high risk, such as those who have a sibling with autism.

Myth 2: Vaccines can make you sick.
Wrong!  You can’t get the flu from a flu shot, for example.  The virus in a flu shot is not “live.”  After getting a vaccine, you may have mild symptoms or pain, but you won’t contract the actual illness a vaccine is designed to prevent. And allergic reactions to vaccines are extremely rare.

Myth 3: Choosing not to vaccinate your child won't affect anyone else.
That’s incorrect.  Vaccinations matter for everyone around your child.  The more people who get vaccinated, the more protection we all have.  It’s called “herd immunity.”

Myth 4: You don’t need to be vaccinated for diseases that have been wiped out.
No, you do need to be vaccinated to prevent an outbreak from recurring.  Case in point: Measles had been eliminated in many areas.  But when too many people stopped receiving the vaccine, measles cases surged.

Minimize your child’s risk of contracting life-altering diseases. Talk to your pediatrician to make an informed decision about immunization.   

To make an appointment with Dr. Pai or another pediatrician, call 216.444.KIDS or visit www.clevelandclinicchildrens.org. Cleveland Clinic offers same-day appointments.

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