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reviewed 7/26/2018

Vaccines & kids: Myth or fact?

Getting kids vaccinated can help protect them from serious diseases. However, myths about vaccines may keep some parents from taking this precaution. See if you can expose vaccination myths with this quiz.

Myth or fact: Vaccines are just for babies and little kids.

Myth. Older kids—and teens and adults—need vaccines too. For instance, preteens should get an HPV vaccine to help protect against certain cancers. Meningitis vaccines are also recommended for students before they head off to college. And everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot every year.

Myth or fact: Not vaccinating kids can't hurt anyone.

Myth. Unvaccinated kids who get sick could give a dangerous disease to someone with a weakened immune system. That includes newborns who haven't had all their shots yet, pregnant women and people undergoing cancer treatments.

Myth or fact: Kids still need vaccines for rare diseases like polio.

Fact. Only one disease on Earth has been wiped out globally, and it's smallpox. Germs that cause other diseases, including polio, are still around. If there's an outbreak, unvaccinated kids can get sick, miss weeks of school, become disabled for life or die.

Myth or fact: The germs in vaccines can overwhelm a baby's immune system.

Myth. A healthy newborn's immune system can easily handle a lot more germs than vaccines contain. It's a germ-filled world, and babies are exposed to thousands of these microorganisms every day. Vaccines are generally very safe.

Myth or fact: Vaccines cause autism.

Myth. There is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism. Medical experts, including the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have studied this idea and found no connection.

Keeping children—and adults—up-to-date on vaccines is crucial to prevent the spread of disease. Find out which ones you or your loved ones may need, and talk to a doctor about how to get them.

Get more vaccine facts

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Vaccines.gov

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