Vaccine myths

Myth: Vaccines don’t work.

Fact: The development of vaccines remains one of the greatest advances of modern medicine. Through the global use of smallpox vaccination, smallpox was eradicated as a pathogen that previously killed 1/3 of all persons who became infected. The widespread use of polio vaccine has eliminated the leading cause of childhood paralysis in the United States and currently, this disease is only present in 4 countries. With the ongoing efforts of the global community, we can strive to eradicate polio from the world in the coming decade. These two examples illustrate the power of effective vaccines.

Myth: Vaccines aren’t necessary.

Fact: In some ways, we are victims of our own success. Most young people today have never seen a case of measles, mumps, German measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough. Some of these people question the continued need for vaccines.

Vaccines should be given for numerous reasons, including the following:

  • Some diseases are very common and without vaccination, a person will become infected with a potentially deadly infection. Chickenpox is an example of such a disease.
  • Some diseases continue to smolder just below the surface. These diseases continue to occur, but at fairly low levels (for example, measles, mumps, German measles, and pertussis). If immunization rates drop, outbreaks of these diseases will again occur and children will die from our lack of vigilance. This is exactly what happened in the late 1980s when immunization rates against measles dropped. The result was 100,000 cases of measles and more than 100 deaths!
  • Some diseases have been eliminated from the United States (such as polio and diphtheria). However, these diseases continue to cause outbreaks in other areas of the world. Given the high rate of international travel, these diseases could be easily imported by travelers or immigrants.

Myth: Vaccines weaken the immune system.

Fact: Natural infection with certain viruses can indeed weaken the immune system. This means that when infected with one virus, some people can’t fight off other viruses or bacteria as easily. This happens most notably in children, during natural infection with either chickenpox or measles. Children infected with chickenpox are susceptible to infection with certain bacterial infections (like “flesh-eating” bacteria). And children infected with measles are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the bloodstream (sepsis).

But vaccines are different. The viruses in the measles and chickenpox vaccines (the so-called vaccine viruses) are very different from those that cause measles and chickenpox infections (the “wild-type” viruses) in that the vaccine viruses are weakened such that they do not cause these problems.

Myth: My child doesn’t need to be vaccinated because the diseases that vaccines prevent have been eliminated in the country where we live.

Fact: There is a small bit of truth to this myth—vaccines have helped to dramatically reduce, but not eliminate, the number of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases in certain countries. However, diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough), influenza, hepatitis, and meningitis are still around and can cause serious illness or even death. It’s also important to remember that visitors, both temporary and permanent, come to your country every day from countries where many of these diseases are quite common and visitors may bring these infections with them. While polio and German measles (rubella) have been eliminated from the U.S., they still occur in other countries.

There is always a possibility that you can develop a disease if you have not been vaccinated. Protecting yourself and your family by being vaccinated is the best way to ensure protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Myth: Healthy children do not need to be immunized.

Fact: Vaccines are given to prevent infectious diseases in healthy children who were the victims before vaccines were available. Even healthy children can get very sick and be admitted to the hospital or even die from a vaccine-preventable disease. Vaccinations are an important way of helping your child stay healthy.

Myth: Since most vaccines are not 100 percent effective, there’s really no need to get them.

Fact: It’s true that vaccines are not effective 100 percent of the time, but that doesn’t mean that you should skip any recommended vaccination. Most vaccines protect against disease 85 percent to 99 percent of the time, making vaccination the best way to avoid these diseases. In addition, for some vaccine-preventable diseases, the seriousness of the disease may be less for someone who has received the vaccine. Finally, the more people who get the vaccine, the less likely the disease will be present in the community where it can spread to people who are unable to get the vaccine either because they are too young or have certain medical conditions. This is called “herd immunity”.

Myth: The side effects of vaccines are worse than the diseases they are meant to prevent.

Fact: In the great majority of cases, the side effects from vaccines are quite minimal (such as injection-site soreness or a slight fever). Yes, several vaccines do have potentially serious side effects, but they are extremely rare and deaths caused by vaccines are almost unheard of. In many ways, vaccines are victims of their own success. Before vaccines, millions of children contracted measles, polio, Haemophilus influenza type B, pertussis and other serious diseases each year. Thousands died or were seriously damaged. Even with advanced medical care in 2009, serious complications and death occur from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination is the best form of protection.

Myth: It’s not safe to get more than one vaccine at a time.

Fact: When parents first read the child-and-adolescent vaccine schedule, it’s not unusual for them to be concerned about how many vaccines are given at one time. However, research has shown it is safe for healthy individuals to receive more than one vaccine at a time. Not only is it safe, but it also protects the person as quickly as possible. It is convenient because parents do not have to make as many visits to their health care providers as they would if they were getting vaccinations one at a time.

Myth: Some of the illnesses that vaccines prevent are not a big deal.

Fact: For some children and adults, diseases like chickenpox (Varicella) or rotavirus lead to a mild illness. But that is certainly not the case for everyone. Chickenpox can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and predisposition to being infected by group A Streptococcus (GAS) and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, both of which can be life-threatening. Pregnant women who get chickenpox may miscarry or the fetus may have abnormalities, such as skin scars or blindness. Each year in the U.S., rotavirus leads to more than 200,000 emergency room visits, 70,000 hospitalizations, and 20 to 60 deaths. Even healthy children can die from influenza. Since vaccine-preventable diseases are a constant threat, vaccination is the best protection.

Myth: Vaccines cause the illnesses they’re supposed to prevent.

Fact: This myth almost always surfaces during flu season because other respiratory illnesses are common at this time. In regards to the influenza vaccines, neither the inactivated influenza vaccine (the flu shot) nor the live attenuated influenza vaccine (nasal spray) can cause a person to develop influenza.

In regards to the other vaccines on the schedule approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, the chance of contracting the disease a vaccine has been proven to protect against is minimal to impossible. For vaccines that contain live weakened viruses, such as chickenpox or MMR, a patient may develop a very mild illness that would be much less severe if the person did not receive the vaccination and contracted the disease.

Myth: Vaccines are not tested enough.

Fact: Before any vaccine is licensed and recommended, it must go through a lengthy testing process in thousands of people to ensure its safety. After licensure, vaccines are continually monitored for any uncommon and rare side effects by examining disease reports from each health department nationwide and vaccine surveillance systems such as Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD).



Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The company is globally recognized for its quality through our facilities have been audited and approved by stringent authority like EMA, PMDA, Taiwan GMP, local WHO and others.

Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
A: 40 Tu Do Avenue, Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park, An Phu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
T: +84 274 376 7470 | F: +84 274 376 7469 | E: | W:

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