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Vaccine safety

There are common misconceptions about vaccines that still exist today. You may see claims that vaccines are not safe, cause serious side effects and long-term diseases, or contain poisons. You may also have heard that they pose greater risks than the diseases they can prevent, or that they can be replaced by natural medicines that can provide safer protection. Scientific research shows that these statements are not true.

The safety and effectiveness of vaccines is strictly regulated and enforced in Canada and around the world. It is extremely rare to have a serious side effect caused by a vaccine. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that vaccines cause long-term diseases. In fact, studies have shown that vaccines do not cause inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, brain damage, asthma, autism, or sudden infant death syndrome.

There have been concerns in the past about a potential link between thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative found in some vaccines, and autism or nervous system damage. However, studies have shown that thimerosal in vaccines is not linked to these problems. As well, routine vaccines for children are available without thimerosal in both Canada and the US.

Because routine vaccines have a very low risk of serious side effects, there are rarely reasons not to be vaccinated. However, keep a few facts in mind:

  • If your child has an allergic reaction (such as breathing problems or severe swelling of the skin or mouth) to a vaccine, get immediate medical attention and talk to your doctor before they receive another shot.
  • If your child is allergic to any of the ingredients of a vaccine (for example, some vaccines contain trace amounts of neomycin or egg protein), talk to your doctor about whether they should be vaccinated.
  • With any vaccine, there may be some redness, swelling, or pain in the area where the needle went into the skin.
  • Some children may have a fever after they get the shot. If the fever or the vaccine is causing your child discomfort, ask your child's doctor what to give them to reduce the fever or pain.
  • If your child is very sick when it's time to vaccinate, talk to your doctor.

If you have questions about vaccines or your child's health, talk to your child's doctor or public health nurse.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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