Vaccinations 101: What are they and how do they keep you healthy?

Vaccinations, otherwise known as “shots,” are know as some of the most effective ways to prevent infectious diseases but recently have come under scrutiny by anti-vaxxing campaging. This has led healthcare experts and organizations to publicly defend the usefulness of vaccinations. Additionally, lawmakers are working to make vaccinations mandatory and prevent misinformed parents from forgoing their child’s vaccines. 

Recently, measles outbreaks across the country have led to a spike in childhood infections and hospitalizations, based on  data from the CDC

Medical providers constantly disprove common myths about vaccinations, but many individuals may still be confused about how vaccinations work and if they are a safe way to prevent diseases. 

What are vaccines and how do they prevent deadly diseases?

Vaccinations vary based on how they are created, ingredients used, and the purposes of each one. But msot vaccinations work in the same three basic ways, says the CDC:

  • Vaccines use a weakened strain of an infectious disease to help your body build immunity. The weakened disease allows the body’s immune system to learn how to prevent a stronger version. 
  • Some vaccines are administered multiple times since some diseases adapt and change. This means that the immune system has to “re-learn” prevention. For example, booster shots are administered a few times in a child’s lifetime.
  • Vaccines are a safer, more effective way, of preventing infectious disease than building a natural immunity to the disease. A vaccine cannot lead to the development of a full-blown infectious disease. 

Vaccinations are mostly administered through an injection, but sometimes can be administered through nasal spray.

Contrary to popular myth, vaccines cannot create autism.

No matter how many times an anti-vaxxing campaign resurfaces, vaccines cannot create nor catalyze autism in young children.

According to Autism Speaks, one of the largest autism awareness advocacy groups, vaccines cannot cause autism. Various studies cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics disproved this notion and dispelled any  link between vaccinations and autism.

The main risk factors of autism include hereditary and genetic factors, pregnancy complications, advanced age pregnancy (35 years old +), and frequent pregnancies.  

When should you get a vaccination? How to update vaccinations for your children?

Booster shots and early childhood vaccinations should be administered as soon as possible as recommended by a primary care provider.

Most young children receive multiple vaccinations and get updated vaccines during adolescence. Furthermore, your doctors and specialty providers will know your child’s vaccination history and make clinical recommendations for future vaccines.

Consult your primary doctor and take the time to learn more about vaccines! Do not allow incorrect medication information to influence your decision to keep your child safe and protected from dangerous diseases!