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Demystifying the Myths around Vaccines

Are there any side effects to vaccines?#

There are multiple phases of the development cycle of a vaccine. First, strict quality checks and due diligence are done at each level for the vaccines & efficacy and possible side effects. Then, only satisfactory ones are allowed further to be given in the general population. Hence, the chances of side effects are minimal. However, there might be specific minimal post-vaccination effects observed in certain individuals. 

These symptoms may include:

1. Redness or swelling at the injection site

2. Low-grade fever

3. Muscle pain & Fatigue

4. Nausea & Vomiting 

Suppose we do not give the vaccine to children & adults?* 

If we stop vaccinating, there would be no immunity to the particular disease against which it was developed. Naturally, we would helplessly suffer in cases of exposure to such diseases. 

Lessons from the Past 

In 1970, around 80% of Japanese children received a vaccination for Pertussis (whooping cough). In 1974, there were 393 cases of whooping cases but no deaths.

The rumours began stating that vaccines were unsafe, resulting in a drop in vaccination rate by 10%.

This resulted in the Pertussis epidemic with more than 13,000 cases & 41 deaths. 

Common Myths^

Myth: The vaccination for Measles, Mumps, & Rubella (MMR) causes Autism.

Fact: No, it does not cause Autism. This myth is popularised because Autism is often diagnosed around MMR vaccination (age 15 - 18 months). However, many rigorous studies conducted by different institutions have shown no link between MMR & Autism. 

Myth: Taking vaccines for Polio, Chickenpox, & Measles is unnecessary since these diseases are not prevalent in this country.

Fact: Even though childhood diseases have almost been wiped out, these diseases still exist globally. Outbreaks can occur anytime through visitors to this country. 

Myth: Vaccinations provide 100% immunity forever.

Fact: Unfortunately, no. Vaccines are effective up to a certain extent at preventing disease.  Periodic booster dosages might be needed in some cases.

Myth: Getting so many vaccines at once will overload our child's immune system.

Fact: Vaccination does not overburden a healthy child's immune system. Daily exposure to the environment introduces various antigens, building the immune system stronger. As a result, their immune systems can readily respond to the minimal number of weakened or killed infectious agents in vaccines. 

Myth: Vaccines contain Mercury.

Fact: Thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines, indeed contain Mercury. However, since 2001, thimerosal has been discontinued to prepare vaccines. However, it is still used in some flu shots. Parents can ask for thimerosal-free versions. 

Sources:

*https://bit.ly/3H3567O

#https://bit.ly/3tO6GGZ

^https://bit.ly/3IwoudJ, https://bit.ly/3fLAbRA, https://bit.ly/3tMZPxt

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