Let’s debunk the myths and misconceptions surrounding vaccines in this article. Apart from having a vaccination schedule and knowing the vaccination centres available in Nairobi, parents also need to know what’s true, and what’s false. Parents who question the effectiveness and safety of vaccines are bit unintelligent but are either misinformed or have misinterpreted the information presented to them.
Myth #1: Multiple Vaccines Can Overwhelm a Baby’s Immune System
According to Immunize.org, babies are exposed to bacteria as they pass through the birth canal and hence subjected to immunological challenges from birth. The babies will carry the bacteria but aren’t affected by it as healthy babies produce antibodies against these bacteria constantly.
Therefore, the vaccines require a tiny proportion of the body’s immune system to respond and nowadays, vaccines contain fewer antigens (proteins and sugars) in comparison to the past thus aligning to baby’s immune system.
Myth #2: Ingredients in Vaccines are Harmful.
Ingredients making vaccines are chosen for a particular cause and fight. For example, most vaccines contain thimerosal, formaldehyde and aluminium. Aluminium is used to improve the immune response while formaldehyde is used to inactivate a virus.
For thimerosal, though it contains mercury, it’s ethylmercury, not methylmercury. Methylmercury (MM), not ethylmercury, is the one known to cause damage to the nervous system. Additives such as sucrose and glycine are necessary to help the vaccine stay active while being stored.
Since 2001, thimerosal has not been used to make vaccines except for a few influenza vaccines.
Myth #3: Thimerosal causes Autism
As mentioned before, thimerosal contains ethylmercury (EM) and not methylmercury (MM) so the instances of damage to the nervous system are null. In addition to this, studies have shown that thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.
Research conducted has shown that between a set of children treated with thimerosal vaccines and those not treated with it, there was no decrease in autism cases, proving the hypothesis of autism causation wrong.
Myth #4: Natural Immunity is Better
At the end of the day, we would all like to live chemical-free lives but we must agree that some chemicals are here to help, and our bodies need help.
Natural immunity has never been better and leads to early death, paralysis, liver failure, permanent head damage and lots of hospital-incurred expenses treating preventable diseases.
Myth #5 Pregnant Women Should Never Be Vaccinated
Although pregnant women should never receive live vaccines, Influenza and Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis) are recommended during pregnancy.
Myth #6: Vaccines Should Not Be Given To Breastfeeding Women
All vaccines can be given to breastfeeding women, even live vaccines, with the exception of the smallpox vaccine.
Myth #7: Abortions Are Required To Produce These Vaccines
While production of vaccines like rabies, hepatitis A, rubella and varicella vaccines require involves growing viruses in human culture, this has not been done since the 1960s.
These vaccines were developed from two legally aborted foetuses in the 1960s, aborted not for vaccine purposes and these cell lines have been in use ever since with now new fetal culture required.
Myth #8: The Immunisation Schedule is Too Harsh on Children
The schedule is designed with the baby in mind. It’s in the parent’s and the child’s interest to follow it and not ‘space out’ buy suing an alternative schedule.
Delaying the vaccines or ‘spacing them out’ makes children more susceptible to diseases and there is no evidence that it reduces adverse reactions from the vaccines.
Myth #9: Vaccines Can’t Be Given To People Who Are Sick
According to immunize.org, Mild acute illness with or without fever is not a contraindication to vaccines, neither is antibiotic treatment, recent exposure to an infectious disease or convalescing from an illness.
What are some of the craziest myths you have read or come across? Let us know in the comments below.
For parents not yet convinced, visit,
This article is for information purpose only and should not be considered as Medical or Obstetric Advice. Consult an Obstetrician before making any obstetric decision.
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