Busting Immunization Myths

Immunization Myths


Vaccines have been proven safe and effective yet people continue to question the need for vaccination because of the many myths surrounding it. This blog busts some of the most common myths regarding vaccines.

 In spite of healthcare leaders stressing on the importance of vaccination, the skepticism and fear associated with vaccines continues to exist. The myths and misconceptions surrounding vaccines further fuel the fire and add to people’s already existing fear. To overcome this fear, it is necessary to understand what vaccines are and how they have helped save many lives.

Understanding Vaccines

Vaccines introduce a weakened or dead piece of infection into the body. This stimulates the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against that infection. When the body is actually attacked by that particular infection in the future, the immune system will remember it and will work quickly to destroy it. The vaccine is thus a smart and safe way of protecting ourselves from illnesses.

The protection from vaccines can last many years. In some cases, booster doses are recommended for continued protection. Vaccines can be given in the form of injections, oral drops or nasal sprays.

How Important Is Vaccination?

The WHO estimates that around 4 million lives are saved each year because of vaccinations. Vaccines drastically reduce the risk of disability from diseases like polio, meningitis, etc.

  • Some people feel they do not need vaccines as they assume that they are strong enough to fight the condition should it happen to strike.
  • While vaccines are meant to protect the person getting the vaccine, they are equally important to the health of those around them too.
  • This is because not everyone can be administered vaccines (like small babies, those with a history of allergy or those who are ill and have immune-compromised conditions).
  • To protect this section of population, it is important that everyone gets vaccinated.

Is Vaccination Against Diseases That Have Now Become Rare Necessary?

A particular disease may have become uncommon in some regions but that does not mean it does not exist. With people travelling all over the world, it is easy for the infection to spread from one place to another. Hence, even if a disease is no longer as prevalent, it is still important to get vaccinated against it.

Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?

While most people can get vaccinated, there are some who should avoid it. This includes:

  • People who have certain long-term conditions
  • People who are undergoing treatments that compromise the immune system
  • People with a history of severe allergy to vaccines
  • High fever or a bad infection on the day of the vaccination

The above are just guidelines; your healthcare provider is the best person to advise you on whether vaccination is contraindicated.

Adults and Vaccinations

Many people are under the impression that vaccines are only meant for children. This is not true. Adults too should take the recommended vaccines.

Sometimes, adults might be lagging behind in vaccinations – they would not have been vaccinated as children, they would have been previously unaware of vaccination importance, etc. Talk to your healthcare provider about your vaccination status. He/she will definitely give you the options that are open to you now.

Busting Myths

Providing people with the correct information is essential to overcome vaccine fear.

Myth 1: Vaccines contain dangerous ingredients.

  • This is not true.
  • While reading the vaccine label might alarm some people, the truth is vaccines only contain elements that we are already exposed to – the element could be naturally occurring in our body, might be present in the food we consume or in our environments.
  • Furthermore, the quantity of the element too is a lot lesser in the vaccine than what we are regularly exposed to.
  • Vaccines undergo lengthy testing procedures to make sure they are safe before they are made available to the public.

Myth 2: Pregnant women should not get vaccinated.

  • This is not always true.
  • Pregnant women are encouraged to get certain vaccines like influenza, tetanus, etc. to protect them and their babies.
  • However, it is true that certain vaccines like MMR and chicken pox should not be administered during pregnancy.
  • These vaccines are best given before pregnancy or after delivery.
  • Pregnant women should consult their healthcare provider to get the complete list of vaccines that should be taken and those that should be avoided.

Myth 3: Vaccines are highly risky.

  • Once again, this is false.
  • As already mentioned, vaccines undergo stringent testing procedures to make sure they are safe.
  • An adverse event following vaccination is extremely rare.
  • Vaccination can have minor side-effects like slight fever and soreness but these are nothing to be concerned about.
  • Not getting a vaccine for a vaccine-preventable disease can be more harmful than the vaccine side-effects. For example, polio can cause disability, measles can cause encephalitis, etc.

Myth 4: It is better for children to get the disease and become immune to it.

  • Unfortunately, this is a widely prevalent belief.
  • This is because people are unaware that the complications which may arise from vaccine-preventable diseases can be life-threatening.
  • Let us consider the case of influenza. According to the WHO, seasonal influenza is responsible for causing 2,90,000 – 6,50,000 deaths a year due to respiratory complications.
  • The best way to reduce this number is through vaccination.
  • In 2022, 1,36,200 people died from measles – the majority of the deaths were children.
  • Once again, MMR is a highly safe and effective vaccine that according to WHO data has prevented 56 million deaths in the time period between 2000 and 2021.

Myth 5: Giving a child multiple vaccines overloads the immune system.

  • Children are exposed to antigens like toxins, viruses, etc. on a daily basis.
  • These toxins all evoke a response from the immune system.
  • Compared to these normal events, it is highly unlikely that vaccine antigens will overload the immune system.
  • Studies have shown that children’s immune systems are not overloaded by administering multiple vaccines.


World over, vaccine programs have enhanced the overall health of people. They have significantly reduced disease transmission, disability and mortality. Yet, people still continue to question the need for vaccination. It is only through awareness and sharing the correct information that the suspicion and confusion regarding vaccines can be overcome.

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