Are immunizations safe?

Yes! Immunizations are thoroughly studied before they are licensed for public use. Vaccines, before they are approved in the United States go through a rigorous process to assess their safety. The link the the brochure below describes the entire process, and also the continued evaluation of vaccines. Clinical trials are conducted to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of any single or combination vaccine before it can be brought to the market. Once a vaccine is introduced, there is a strong system in place to continuously monitor its safety. Vaccine safety is a shared responsibility among the federal government, state and local health departments, other partners and the public. To help meet this shared responsibility, government agencies and their partners have established several coordinated systems to monitor the safety of vaccines after they have been licensed for public use. These systems, such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), are used together to help scientists continuously monitor issues.

Why does the media show scary stories about immunizations?

The media often covers stories about immunizations without understanding the science. Vaccines are studied extensively and are very safe. Just because an injury or issue occurs after receiving a vaccine, does not mean it was caused by the vaccine.

Is vaccine shedding harmful?

There is risk for someone who has a weak immune system. The risk is very small when coming into contact with someone who had been vaccinated with a live weakened vaccine. The higher risk would be immunizing a person who is highly immunocompromised (very weak immune system). This is why recommendations for these persons typically include holding live vaccines until their immune system function improves.

Are the ingredients in immunizations dangerous?

No. Immunizations and their ingredients are also studied extensively before licensure to ensure their safety. Certain ingredients are used to maintain the safety and sterility of a vaccines, and to increase the immune response. The below link to the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia breaks down a lot of this information. The ingredients in immunizations are included to create a stronger immunize response and make them work better. The ingredients do not cause diseases.

Are the side effects of immunizations worse than the diseases they prevent?

Vaccines are studied extensively and continuously and are very safe, while the diseases they prevent can cause serious injuries and even death. The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) founded in 1990 continuously monitors the safety of vaccines and conducts studies about rare and serious adverse events following immunization. Any new vaccines recommended for use in the Unites States are also monitored by the VSD for safety.

Are immunizations necessary?

You protect your child from car accidents with seat belts, you protect them from drowning by teaching them to swim, and you can protect him or her from vaccine-preventable diseases with immunization. Vaccination against infectious diseases remains one of the most successful health interventions in the past 100 years. Countless lives have been saved as a result of vaccines. Despite that, more than 3 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Approximately 1.5 million of these deaths are in children less than five years old. In 2014, Ohio experienced the largest outbreaks of the measles in the U.S. in 20 years. The Ohio AAP and our member pediatricians understand that parents may have concerns about vaccinating their children and we support ongoing research and increased funding in that area.

How do I keep my son or daughter calm during vaccinations?

There are many ways to make immunizations less stressful for both the child and adult or caregiver! For small children, bring a favorite toy, book, or blanket to comfort them during the shots. For older children, be honest and explain shots can pinch or sting, but they will not hurt for long.

Do immunizations cause autism?

No. Countless studies, including a study performed by the CDC in 2013, have found immunizations are a safe and effective way to prevent serious disease. The studies show there is NO link between autism and the MMR vaccine, thimerosal or multiple vaccines given at once. The below link to a brochure entitled “Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety” also includes the references to several studies on this topic for more information. The most common side effect of vaccines is soreness at the spot where the shot was given and low-grade fevers that are not harmful.

Can I make my own immunization schedule or use one that I found online?

The immunization schedule is studied extensively and is the best defense against infections that may have serious complications including pneumonia, meningitis, cancer, and even death. The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Institute of Medicine have all studied and approved the current immunization schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immunization schedule, which recommends specific immunizations be given during specific time periods, has been developed to provide the best immune response and protection.

Are the illnesses immunizations prevent a big deal?

Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in Ohio prove these illnesses are still dangerous. In 2014, Ohio experienced outbreaks of the mumps and measles. Some patients suffering from these illnesses experienced very serious complications, including deafness and decreased fertility. Chickenpox (varicella) can cause serious complications and for some children, especially those who are immune compromised, it can be life threatening. Pregnant women who contract chickenpox may miscarry or the fetus may have abnormalities, such as skin scars or blindness. Each year in the U.S., rotavirus (a virus that causes diarrhea) leads to more than 200,000 emergency room visits, 70,000 hospitalizations and 20-60 deaths.