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Myths and Facts about Vaccines

There is possibly no bigger controversy surrounding children’s health right now than the battle over vaccine safety. If you spend any time online, you’ve probably seen plenty of myths about vaccines. Sadly, many infectious, life-threatening diseases are on the brink of returning from near eradication due to unfounded fears and myths about vaccines.

At Penguin Pediatrics, we want what’s safest for your child and all the other children who are in our patient family. At our locations in Ashburn and Stone Ridge, Virginia, Dr. Umesh Kodu and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jamie Weis will vaccinate your child according to the recommended schedule to protect them and those around them. These vaccines are safe, and here’s why.  

Vaccines don’t cause autism

The myth about vaccines causing autism originated with a man named Andrew Wakefield. He falsified research to try and link trace amounts of thimerosal, a mercury-based ingredient found in some vaccines, to autism. Wakefield’s research was found to be manipulated, his medical license was stripped, and he was barred from practicing medicine. However, the damage to public opinion was already done. And sadly, since autism is usually diagnosed around the time of a well-child visit that includes a vaccination, many people still cling to this myth.

The facts about vaccines and autism

Vaccines don’t cause autism. Mercury doesn’t cause autism, and thimerosal isn’t even present in children’s vaccines anymore. Your child can’t get autism from any of their vaccines. Period.

Vaccines don’t shed

The myth about vaccines shedding was created because it’s based on a tiny bit of truth. Some vaccines can “shed” virus, but only ones made with a live virus, and it’s important to know that although the virus is “live,” it’s also “attenuated.” That means that the virus has been made so weak that it can’t cause the disease. All it can do is create an immune response in the patient. Any “shedding” is too weak to even generate an immune response in a bystander, let alone cause an infection.

The facts about vaccine shedding

Vaccine “shedding” is extremely rare, and it isn’t infectious. Your child can’t get a disease from another child who is “shedding.”

Vaccines should be given on schedule

The myth about “spreading out vaccines” was started because of people being worried about too many vaccines all at once causing a shock to their child’s system. Even if all of your child’s recommended vaccinations were given in one day, it would only engage 0.1% of their available immune capacity, thanks to the incredible amount of antibodies in their blood. Spacing out vaccines simply leaves your child unprotected for longer, increasing their risk of catching a preventable disease.

The facts about vaccine schedules

Vaccines are scheduled precisely to give your child maximum protection as early in life as possible. Spacing out vaccines lowers that protection. There is typically no benefit or reason to change the recommended vaccine schedule.

There are additional myths about vaccines, far too many to cover here. If you have any worries about your child’s vaccines, Dr. Kodu can listen to them and help explain the facts to set your mind at ease. You can also visit this reference from the World Health Organization for more information.

Are you ready to put your child on the road to a healthy life? Contact either of our locations by phone or request an appointment online to schedule your child’s well-visit and make sure they are protected against preventable infectious diseases. 

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