Common Vaccine Misconceptions

Every year thousands of adults in the U.S. become seriously ill and are hospitalized because of diseases that vaccines can help prevent. Many adults even die from these diseases. By getting vaccinated, you can help protect yourself from much of this unnecessary suffering.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that vaccines prevented over 10 million deaths between 2010 and 2015, and many millions more were protected from illness. Although vaccines go through various trial phases before FDA approval, vaccine hesitancy is at an all time high. Vaccine hesitancy and conspiracies are often fueled by common misconceptions. Let’s break down some of the most common and easily dispelled misconceptions about vaccines.

Vaccines can make you sick

Some people may experience mild side effects from vaccines ranging from a sore arm to slight flu like symptoms, but they go away quickly. According to WHO, serious side effects from vaccines rarely occur. Many severe effects are so rare that their risk cannot be accurately assessed statistically.

Vaccines contain toxic ingredients

Almost any substance, including water, can be toxic in large doses. The ingredients in vaccines that could be considered toxic are in such small trace amounts that they are not considered harmful.

Vaccines can overload your immune system

Children often require a lot of vaccinations within a short period of time, but this is proven to be safe. The immune system is very strong and isn’t negatively affected by receiving simultaneous vaccines. There’s also no evidence that spacing out vaccines is safer for children. In fact, delaying childhood vaccinations can cause community outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles or chickenpox.

Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity

Vaccines allow you to build immunity without the damaging effects that vaccine-preventable diseases can have. These diseases can cause serious health problems and even be life-threatening. You can avoid the serious effects of diseases just by getting vaccinated.

When administered properly and in the recommended quantities, all vaccines provide you with the protection that you need.

If everyone around me is immune, then I don't need to be vaccinated

Most vaccine-preventable diseases spread through person-to-person contact. When one person in a community gets the disease, it can easily spread to other people. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer chances a disease has to spread.

In some cases, what is known as herd immunity may be possible but in others it is impossible because the rate of spread and the severity of the disease.

Vaccines can cause autism

This claim stems from a discredited and retracted study that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. This flawed study kicked off a resilient storm of vaccine misinformation. Hundreds of studies across the globe have shown that there is no connection between vaccines and autism.

We don't get vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States

Diseases that were common in the United States, like measles or polio, are now rare or even eliminated completely because generations of people were vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities. In our globalized world, the potential exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases is only a plane ride away. As the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us, if one country has an outbreak, it’s the world’s concern.

Failing to get vaccinated can put yourself and your entire community at risk. Learn more about vaccines by visiting one of the resources below. If you are looking to receive your COVID-19 Vaccination, please visit or call 412-361-8255.