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Common Myths


I am breastfeeding so my child doesn't need immunizations.

Immunizations are still needed. While breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby, it does not prevent infections the way vaccines do. Your child may have fewer colds, but breastfeeding does not protect against many serious illnesses such as whooping cough, polio, and diphtheria like immunizations do.

I read that the DTP vaccine can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

There is no scientific evidence that links the DTaP or DTP shot and SIDS. This myth continues because the first dose is given at 2 months of age, when the risk of SIDS is greatest. However, these events are not connected.

I've heard that it is unsafe to immunize a child who has a cold and fever. Is this true?

A child with a minor illness can safely be immunized. Minor illnesses include the following:

  • low-grade fever
  • ear infection
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • mild diarrhea in an otherwise healthy child

I've heard that some children have serious side effects from vaccines so they must not be very safe.

Reactions to vaccines may occur, but they are usually mild. Severe reactions to vaccines are very rare. Symptoms of a more serious reaction include the following:

  • Very high fever
  • Generalized rash
  • Large amount of swelling at the point of injection

If any of these symptoms occur, call your pediatrician right away.

If your child experiences any side effects after a vaccination, talk to your pediatrician. Together you can decide whether your child should receive another dose of the same vaccine.

Children with other health problems may need to avoid certain vaccines or get them later than usual. For example, children with certain types of cancers or problems with their immune systems should not get live virus vaccines like the MMR, varicella, or oral polio vaccines. For children with seizures, the pertussis part of the DTaP vaccine may need to be delayed. Ask your pediatrician when the vaccine can be given.

I've heard that giving a child more than one immunization at a time can be dangerous.

Studies and years of experience show that vaccines used for routine childhood immunizations can be safely given together. Side effects when multiple vaccines are given together are no greater than when each vaccine is given on separate occasions. Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about the number of vaccines your child is scheduled to receive.

Immunizations hurt.

They may hurt a little, and your baby may cry for a few minutes. There may be some temporary swelling where your child was injected. However, protecting your child's long-term health is worth a few tears.

If your child is old enough to understand, explain that immunizations help prevent some very serious illnesses. Comfort and play with your child after the immunization. Acetaminophen can be used to help relieve some of the more common side effects, such as irritability and fever, but always check the dosage with your pediatrician.


Infants are too young to get vaccinated.

Children are immunized in the first few months of life because several vaccine-preventable diseases infect them when they are very young.

It is very important for infants to be fully immunized against certain diseases by the time they are six months old.

Fortunately, young infants are surprisingly good at building immunity to viruses and bacteria. About 95 percent of children given DTaP, Hib, and hepatitis B virus vaccines will be fully protected by two years of age.

Is it better to be naturally infected than immunized.

It is true that natural infection almost always causes better immunity than vaccination (only the Hib, pneumococcal, and tetanus vaccines are better at inducing immunity than natural infection). Whereas natural infection causes immunity after just one infection, vaccines usually create immunity only after several doses are given over a number of years. For example,

DTaP, hepatitis B, and IPV are each given at least three times.

However, the difference between vaccination and natural infection is the price paid for immunity. The price paid for vaccination is the inconvenience of several shots and the occasional

sore arm. The price paid for a single natural infection is usually considerably greater: paralysis from natural polio infection, mental retardation from natural Hib infection, liver failure from

natural hepatitis B virus infection, deafness from natural mumps infection, or pneumonia from natural varicella infection are high prices to pay for immunity.



Vaccines weaken the immune system.

Natural infection with certain viruses can indeed weaken the immune system. This means that when children are infected with one virus, they can’t fight off other viruses or bacteria as

easily. This happens most notably during natural infection with either chickenpox or measles. Children infected with chickenpox are susceptible to infection with certain bacterial

infections (like .flesh-eating. bacteria). And children infected with measles are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the bloodstream (sepsis). But vaccines are different. The viruses in the measles and chickenpox vaccines (the so-called vaccine viruses) are very different from those that cause measles and chickenpox infections (the .wild-type. viruses). The vaccine viruses are themselves so disabled that they cannot weaken the immune system. Vaccinated children are not at greater risk of other infections (meaning infections not prevented by vaccines) than unvaccinated children.



The DTP vaccine causes a disease that looks like .shaken baby. syndrome.

Small children who are shaken forcefully in rage can develop bleeding around the brain (subdural hematomas) and bleeding on the back of the eye (retinal hemorrhages). Some lawyers have chosen to defend people accused of abusing children by saying that bleeding was caused by the pertussis component of the DTP vaccine. However, no evidence exists to support this contention. Neither pertussis nor the pertussis vaccine cause bleeding around the brain or on the back of the eye.only forceful shaking does this.




Mrs. Mhaskar
0 # measlesMrs. Mhaskar 2013-06-08 12:08
my baby is running on her 9th month and is due to receive measles vaccination ....is it important to give that vaccine ...I have heard that measles vaccine is required only when child encounter it ...giving it before hand is not required and also trouble and pain to the child ...please advice
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+1 # drMUTHURAM ARUMUGAM 2013-06-20 23:18
yes, it is important to give measles vaccine, it has to be given before the baby gets the disease, not after it,
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samira mhaskar
0 # infant vomits everytime she fallssamira mhaskar 2013-06-26 12:09
my neighbour's infant (18month( vomits everytime she falls on head ...her activity, food and breastfeeding intakes are fine ...no case of injury but don't know why she vomits specifically after falling ....people says she might become mad when grows ....please advice at your earliest ....thank you
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Sam Pradhan
+1 # MrSam Pradhan 2014-10-29 15:45
Hello..My boy is 4 months old and has undergone TAPVC(Open heart) surgery when he was 2 months old and is fine now. Can he start the vaccication now?
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