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Frequently Asked Questions


 

It’s always wise to get the facts before you make a decision, especially when it comes to your health. Fortunately, evidence based research tells us a lot about vaccines. Before you make a choice to vaccinate, find out how vaccines work, what they do to our bodies and if they’re safe. 

  

 
 
 
 
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Click here to be redirected to the Centers for Disease Control website to make sure your child is immunized on schedule with the vaccines they need to keep them protected.

Thimerosal is actually a mercury-containing organic compound that is used as a preservative in some vaccine manufacturing processes.  There is no convincing evidence that this is harmful to humans when used in these trace amounts.  For additional information on thimerosal, see The U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.

Prior to being approved by the Federal Drug Administration, all vaccines undergo testing to ensure the ingredients are safe.  Even after a vaccine is approved, the work continues.  Vaccines are continually monitored to ensure your safety is never compromised.  Check out the facts on vaccine safety.

 

 

For years, Andrew Wakefield tried to convince the world that there was a link between vaccines and autism. His study, involving 12 children invited to his son’s birthday party, was later deemed fraudulent and dishonest. Despite Wakefield’s medical license being revoked, many people are not aware of his research misconduct. Millions of dollars were spent trying to replicate Wakefield’s theory, and absolutely no linkage between vaccines and autism has been found. It is also important to understand that Wakefield’s original data was completely falsified. See below for links to articles on autism and vaccine.

 

It is important to remember that your child is unprotected against a disease until he or she receives the appropriate vaccine. Children do not receive any known benefits from following schedules that delay vaccines. Infants and young children who follow immunization schedules that spread out shots-or leave out shots- are at risk of developing diseases during the time that shots are delayed.

Some vaccine-preventable disease are still common in the U.S. (such as pertussis, or whooping cough), and children may be exposed to these diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines. If you are still not sure, get free advice from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to help you determine whether to alter the immunization schedule.

 

Unfortunately, vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) are not eradicated in the United States. Each year, we still see cases of VPD in our country that lead to unnecessary pain, disablement, and even death. When enough people choose not to vaccinate, disease can spread. This can sometimes be an especially difficult decision for parents, who want nothing more than to protect their child. That’s why it’s important to be informed. Just ask a grandparent or senior citizen about the horrific effects of disease that they witnessed before vaccines were available. If you still choose not to vaccinate, make sure you understand the risks.

 

While the Internet has become such a useful tool to our society, we have to keep in mind that website content is not formally regulated. There’s no governing authority that requires an individual to prove the validity of their website’s content. When searching for information online, make sure you look for reputable sites that base their position on scientific fact.

 

An adjuvant is a substance that is added to a vaccine to increase the body's immune response to the vaccine. Aluminum gels or aluminum salts are the only vaccine adjuvants currently licensed for use in the U.S. Many people don’t realize that aluminum is one of the most common metals found in nature and is present in food, water, and the air we breathe. Learn more about vaccine adjuvants.

Babies may get some protection from mom during the last few weeks of pregnancy—but only for the diseases to which mom is immune. Breastfeeding may also protect your baby temporarily from minor infections, like colds. These antibodies do not last long, leaving the infant vulnerable to disease.
 
Natural immunity occurs when your child is exposed to a disease and becomes infected. It is true that natural immunity usually results in better immunity than vaccination, but the risks are much greater. A natural chickenpox infection may result in pneumonia, whereas the vaccine might only cause a sore arm for a couple of days.
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Infants and children are not the only ones who need to be vaccinated! Different vaccinations are needed at different stages in life. Even if a person was fully vaccinated during their infancy and childhood, there are additional vaccines he or she needs. Read more about how vaccines help to prevent serious and sometimes deadly diseases in pre-teens and teenagers. Here are just a few reasons to get vaccinated:
 
  • Some adults were never vaccinated as children
  • Immunity can begin to fade over time
  • Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children
  • As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections like the flu and pneumococcus
  • Influenza strains change over time, so every year a new flu vaccine is made to better protect everyone
  • Adults may travel internationally more often, finding themselves potentially exposed to diseases not common in the U.S. 
     

Even after a vaccine has been tested and approved for use in the U.S., it continues to be tested and monitored during production. Occasionally we find that a particular batch of vaccine (known as a vaccine lot) has been recalled, typically due to concerns about the vaccine’s effectiveness. When the effectiveness or strength of a vaccine lot is in question, it may not produce an immune response that is strong enough to protect against disease. Even though there is no safety concern, patients who might have received recalled vaccine may need to be re-vaccinated. Learn more about vaccine recalls.

VAERS was created in 1990 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to accept reports from the public on any unusual or unexpected event (like fainting) that happens after being vaccinated with a vaccine licensed in the U.S.  Our VAERS reporting policy provides guidance on direct reporting to VAERS.  Even if you’re uncertain if the event you experienced is related to a recent vaccination, it should be reported and evaluated by the FDA. Report an adverse event now.