Vaccines: Benefits outweigh the risks



The science is in. The benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks. Still, the debate about the value of vaccines continues. Here are some facts from Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute to help you make the right health decision for your child.

What are the benefits of vaccines?

Vaccines protect against diseases that can harm your child. Some of these diseases can cause serious long-term health problems or death.

Vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical intervention, including antibiotics or surgery. Vaccines also help prevent disabilities such as blindness and paralysis that can be caused by disease.

Haven’t we gotten rid of these diseases in the U.S.?

No. The vaccines that Kaiser Permanente and other health care organizations recommend are for diseases that still show up in the United States, so children are still at risk. You may have heard about the measles becoming more common. In 2019, our country had the most cases since 1992. More than 120 people were hospitalized because of measles, with complications such as pneumonia and brain inflammation.

Will my child be exposed to toxins from these vaccines?

No. Vaccines do contain some additives. But today’s vaccines have fewer additives than the ones you may have had as a child. Still, some additives are necessary for vaccines to be safe and effective.

Aluminum is present in some vaccines to improve immune response. However, healthy babies quickly eliminate aluminum from their bodies. In fact, babies get more aluminum from breast milk or formula in their first six months of life than they do from vaccines.

Very few—if any—childhood vaccines contain the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. And the best scientific evidence clearly shows that the thimerosal in vaccines does not cause autism or other harmful effects. The form of mercury known to be dangerous to health has never been in any vaccines.

Health Tip

Some strains of HPV are linked to certain cancers. The HPV vaccine helps protect against those virus strains.

Learn more

From Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

From Kaiser Permanente

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