From measles outbreaks in nearby New York state to anti-vaccine groups protesting in California over new legislation, vaccines and immunizations are a hot topic across the United States of America. This wave of information prompts questions among the public such as:
As community healthcare providers, the team here at Sheehans feels that it is extremely important to separate fact from fiction so that you, as our valued customer, can make an INFORMED and ACCURATE decision.
Are vaccines safe and effective?
Yes. Vaccines have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective over and over throughout clinical trials as well as post-marketing analysis. They are given to millions of people across the US and globally and are held to extremely high health and safety standards.
Before a vaccine is ever given at your local pharmacy, it must go through strict testing and evaluation in the laboratory to answer questions such as:
Is this vaccination safe?
What dose (amount) works best?
How does the immune system react to it?
After approval, vaccines are further monitored for safety and efficacy by multiple agencies.
Should I immunize myself and family? Does Sheehans Provide immuniations?
To make it short and sweet, the answer is undoubtedly YES. Not only should you get vaccinated for diseases such as the flu, pneumonia, and shingles, but your entire family should as well!
Why is it crucial that your whole family get vaccinated? Well, because of a concept called “herd immunity”. As per the CDC,
“Germs can travel quickly through a community and make a lot of people sick. If enough people get sick, it can lead to an outbreak. But when enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, the germs can’t travel as easily from person to person — and the entire community is less likely to get the disease.”
Herd immunity protects those who cannot be vaccinated, such as those with allergies or weakened/failing immune systems like the elderly or those with HIV/AIDS. It also protects infants who are not old enough to receive vaccines yet.
Furthermore, here at Sheehans we offer a wide variety of vaccines for you and your family. Our pharmacists are able to immunize anyone 18 years and older with the following vaccines:
Influenza (Flucelvax® for those younger than age 65 and FLUAD® for those aged 65 or older)
Pneumonia (Prevnar 13® and Pneumovax 23®)
Should you not see a specific vaccination on this list that you are interested, please call one of our pharmacists today to ask about options!
Are any of the beliefs of anti-vaccine groups truthful?
From vaccines and autism to dangerous ingredients, myths surrounding vaccines that are shared on Facebook and social media by anti-vaccine groups are either completely false or are rooted in confusion.
Let’s address a few myths surrounding some vaccines. If your question isn’t listed below, please feel free to contact the pharmacy and we will happily answer it! All of the following questions will have their sources cited for further reading should you be interested.
Is a more spaced-out vaccine schedule effective for my child?“Selectie” and “Alternative” vaccine schedules have not been shown to be better for your child as compared to schedules regularly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, one of the leading resources for vaccines. Moreover, extending the schedule for vaccinations will put your child at risk for more vaccine-preventable diseases. The fewer children that are protected, the more easily disease can spread. If you are concerned with the amount of vaccines that your child may receive at one visit and “vaccine overload”, you can rest assured that in the few seconds it takes for your child to walk through the living room in the morning, they are exposed to more antigens than through all vaccinations combined! The body is designed to handle these vaccines, and getting multiple vaccines in one visit is both safe and effective. Citation: www.cdc.gov
Is natural immunity better than vaccine-acquired immunity?In some cases, natural immunity or actually catching a disease and becoming ill, results in stronger immunity. However, the dangers of doing this far outweigh the benefits. As per www.publichealth.org, “If you wanted to gain immunity to measles, for example, by contracting the disease, you would face a 1 in 500 chance of death from your symptoms. In contrast, the number of people who have had severe allergic reactions from an MMR vaccine, is less than one-in-one million.” Citation: www.publichealth.org
Are vaccines linked with autism?There is absolutely no link between vaccines and autism. There is absolutely no valid scientific evidence to suggest any link, either. In fact, there have been multiple studies involving MILLIONS (yes, that’s six zeros) of children which have shown no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Check out these sources: www.cdc.gov www.autismspeaks.org
Are there dangerous ingredients in vaccines?Let’s take a look at a list of ingredients in a random product (not a vaccine). Tocopherol, riboflavin, nicotinamide, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, ascorbic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, malic acid, oxalic acid, salicylic acid, purines, copper, zinc, phosphorus...the list goes on. These are the ingredients in an apple. The point is, ingredients can sound scary, but that does not mean they are dangerous. When people talk about the ingredients in vaccines, they are most likely referring to adjuvants or preservatives. Adjuvants are ingredients used in vaccines to create a stronger immune response in the body. Simply put-- adjuvants help vaccines work better. Preservatives also allow the vaccines to be stored in the pharmacy for longer periods of time so they do not expire. Thimerosal is an ingredient we hear a lot about. Thimerosal is a mercury-containing organic compound. Since the 1930s, it has been widely used as a preservative in products, including many vaccines, to help prevent potentially life-threatening contamination with harmful bacteria. Prior to the introduction of thimerosal in the 1930's, data was available in several animal species and humans providing evidence for its safety and effectiveness as a preservative (Powell and Jamieson 1931). Since then, thimerosal has been the subject of numerous studies and has a long record of safe and effective use preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines, with no ill effects established other than minor local reactions (such as a rash) at the site of injection. Though there is no evidence to suggest it is dangerous, thimerosal was removed from many vaccines in the late 1990’s due to (unfounded) concerns of the public. Alternative preservatives have been used since then. Aluminum is another ingredient has made headlines. Aluminum-containing adjuvants are vaccine ingredients that have been used in vaccines since the 1930s. Small amounts of aluminum are added to help the body build stronger immunity against the germ in the vaccine. Aluminum is one of the most common metals found in nature and is present in air, food, and water. Scientific research has shown the amount of aluminum exposure in people who follow the recommended vaccine schedule is low and is not readily absorbed by the body.
Can vaccines cause me to get the disease?Vaccines CANNOT cause you to get the disease that it is trying to prevent. Vaccines cause mild symptoms resembling the diseases they prevent, but these symptoms will go away quickly. These mild symptoms are simply your body’s immune system adapting to the vaccine itself. Citation: www.publichealth.org