Top 8 Vaccination Myths

VaccineMyth #1 MMR Vaccine causes autism.

This myth started with an article published in 1998. It was a case series of 12 children associating the MMR vaccine with development of autism. This article has since been redacted as it was found that the authors basically falsified facts. Since then, there has been more than 10 studies about MMR and autism all reporting no association. The latest of these was released 4/16/2019 in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal. It followed 657,461 children born in Denmark between 1999-2010. It concluded that there is no increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination.

Myth #2 Kids receive too much vaccination at one time if the recommended immunization schedule is followed.

Babies and toddlers sometimes get 5 shots in a well child visit. However, they are also  exposed to countless bacteria and viruses everyday. They touch dirt and then put their hands in their mouth. Immunizations are negligible in comparison. In immunizing kids, you are teaching their immune system to protect them by introducing a controlled and measured dose of the weakened or dead virus or bacteria. A kid getting multiple shots at one time will not “overwhelm” their immune system. Our immune system is continuously getting replenished, up to 2 billion cells each day.

Myth #3 “Natural” immunity is better.

Actually getting sick with measles (or other vaccine-preventable diseases) MAY result in a longer-lasting immunity. However, actually getting sick with these diseases also comes with risk of complications. One in 4 who gets measles end up in the hospital. One in 1,000 can end up with encephalitis. One in 1,000 can die even with best care. Compare that with vaccination risk of severe allergic reaction which happens in 1 in a million.

Myth #4 Vaccines have unsafe toxins.

Formaldehyde, mercury, and aluminum can be found in TRACE amounts in some vaccines (of note, not in MMR). These are in the amounts that would not cause any harm. One gets more than 100 times the amount of aluminum from a dose of an antacid.

Myth #5 Vaccination can cause one to get the disease and to “shed.”

In the 1950s, the oral polio vaccine caused recipients to “shed” the virus from their stool. Contact with the feces and subsequent ingestion caused infection. However, this vaccine is no longer used in the US. Shedding is impossible with killed vaccines or those that only contain isolated proteins from the virus as these cannot replicate and be “shed.” MMR is a live virus vaccine. However, it does not cause “shedding.’ An MMR-vaccinated individual is not expelling vaccine-strain measles virus in the air, which is how “natural” measles is spread. They also do not shed the measles virus in their stool as that is not how measles affect the body.

Myth #6 Sanitation, and not vaccination, is responsible for the significant decrease in the infection.

Sanitation and access to safe water had a great impact in decreasing cholera and other oro-fecally transmitted diseases. However, no matter how clean your surroundings are, if a person with measles coughed out virus in the air in the same room as you and you are not immune, there is a 90% chance that you are going to develop measles. The impact of vaccination can be seen with how much the incidence of the disease dropped after its introduction.

Myth #7 Vaccines contain fetal tissues and by using them one is supporting abortion.

In the 1960’s, from elective termination of two pregnancies, two cell strains were developed, WI-38 and MRC-5. Neither abortion was done for the purpose of vaccine development. Certain viruses infect only humans. Because of this, they grow best in human cells. Cells can only divide and reproduce a certain number of times before dying. But, fetal cells are capable of doing this for many more times before dying. The same cell strains developed in the 1960s have continued to grow in the laboratory and are used to make the vaccines against varicella, rubella, and hepatitis A today. 

Myth #8 Muslims and Jews cannot receive vaccines as they contain pork.

Some vaccines such as MMR and varicella, contain porcine gelatin to stabilize them. In 1995, Islamic scholars met and determined that the transformation of pork products into gelatin alters them sufficiently to make it permissible for observant Muslims to receive vaccines containing pork gelatin. ( With regards to Jewish laws, a rabbi stated that non-oral porcine products are not a problem (