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Vaccinations Must-Knows: What are they and how do they keep you healthy?

Vaccinations, otherwise known as “shots,” are currently a part of larger national conversations about preventing harmful diseases and helping young children build immunity to dangerous viruses.

Measles outbreaks across the country have occurred in 10 states, according to data from the CDC. Many of these outbreaks were the result of parents and anti-vaccination groups preventing their children from getting vaccines.

While medical providers have dispelled common myths about vaccinations, many individuals are still confused about how vaccinations work, if they are safe, and how frequently they should vaccinate their children:

How do vaccinations work?

Vaccinations vary based on how they are created, ingredients used, and the purposes of each one. However, all vaccinations work in relatively the same way, says the CDC:

  • Vaccines use a weakened strain of an infectious disease to help your body build immunity. The weakened disease is not strong enough to create an infection but allows the body’s immune system to learn how to combat stronger versions.
  • Certain vaccines are administered more than once since some diseases adapt and change, which means the immune system has to also “re-learn” prevention. For example, booster shots are administered a few times in a child’s life while flu shots are updated each year.
  • Vaccines are a safer, more effective way, of preventing infectious disease than building a natural immunity to the disease.

Vaccinations are usually administered through an injection, but sometimes can be administered through nasal spray and other delivery vessels. Most urgent care centers, primary care offices, and other medical facilities usually offer a variety of vaccinations for their patients.

A big myth to address: do vaccinations lead to autism?

Regardless of recent anti-vaxxing campaigning, a vaccination does lead to autism in young children.

According to Autism Speaks, one of the nation’s leading advocacy groups for autism awareness, vaccines cannot cause autism. Various studies cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics has disproved this notion and clearly show there is no link between vaccinations and autism.

Additionally, the main risk factors of autism include hereditary and genetic factors, pregnancy complications, advanced age pregnancy (35 years old +), and frequent pregnancies.  

When should you get a vaccination? How to update vaccinations for your children?

Booster shots and early childhood vaccinations should be administered as soon as possible as recommended by a primary care provider.

Unless there is an extreme medical circumstance, most young children receive multiple vaccinations and get updated vaccines during adolescence. Furthermore, your doctors and specialty providers will know your child’s vaccination history and make clinical recommendations as needed.

Simpler vaccinations including flu shots and travel vaccines can be administered at urgent care centers whenever it is convenient for the patient.

Don’t allow misinformation on the internet keep your children from getting necessary vaccines that protect from harmful diseases. Consult your primary doctor and take the time to learn more about vaccines!