Addressing to the most commonly held myths about immunizations.

Myth #1: Vaccines cause autism.

Some people believe that vaccines cause autism. This is not true.

Because children are often diagnosed with autism around the same time as they are immunized, people often think that the immunizations caused the autism. But just because things happen close together does not mean that one thing caused the other. Many scientific studies have shown there is no link between autism and immunization, including the MMR vaccine.

Scientific studies also show that vaccination does not cause multiple sclerosis, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and other diseases.

Myth #2: Vaccines aren't safe.

Vaccines are very safe and effective. Health Canada regulates the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and makes sure vaccines go through a series of steps before being approved for public use. It can take up to 10 years or longer to develop and receive approval for a vaccine. Health Canada and public health authorities continue to monitor vaccines after they have been approved for use in order to detect any safety concerns that may arise.

Getting vaccinated is much safer than getting the disease. Learn more about vaccine safety.

Myth #3: Vaccines contain toxic ingredients.

Vaccines do not contain toxic ingredients. Vaccines go through extensive testing to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

Each vaccine contains a small amount of the disease germ (virus/bacteria/toxoid) or parts of the germ. The germs are either dead or weakened, and the toxoids do not cause disease.

Vaccines also contain other components (ingredients) to help the vaccine work better and to stop the vaccine from becoming contaminated. These components are used in very small amounts and are not a health risk. For example, there is 10 times the amount of formaldehyde in a baby’s body than the amount of formaldehyde in a vaccine.

Learn more about vaccine ingredients.

Myth #4: The flu shot causes the flu.

The flu is mainly spread through sneezing, coughing and coming in close contact with someone who has the flu. There is no evidence to show that the flu shot causes the flu.

The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine. It cannot give you the flu because it contains killed flu viruses that cannot cause infection. Common reactions to the flu shot include redness and swelling where the vaccine is given. Some people may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. These symptoms are expected reactions from the flu shot. They are usually mild and last 1 to 2 days. The nasal spray is a weakened live vaccine and may cause mild influenza symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. The symptoms caused by the nasal spray are much milder than symptoms due to flu infection.

Myth #5: Multiple vaccines increase the risk of side effects or negative reactions.

Research shows that giving multiple vaccines (more than one) at one time is both safe and effective and does not increase side effects. Even when multiple vaccines are given at the same time, expected side effects such as redness, soreness or swelling where the shot was given will be mild and will only last a day or two. Changing schedules to spread shots over several visits can leave your child at risk for vaccine preventable diseases and can mean multiple visits to your health care professional which can increase their risk of developing anxiety and needle fear.