** Preventive care plays an important role in your overall health. However, seeking preventive care during the coronavirus pandemic may look different than it has before. Please be sure to contact your provider or visit their website before your appointment to learn about special procedures that might be in place. **
This article was last updated on Dec. 9, 2020.
The debate over immunizations continues to swirl around the country. From celebrities to politicians — even your friends on social media — it seems that everyone has an opinion on this important public health issue.
So, how do you consider these opinions and sort fact from fiction? We'll help you get started by busting the top four myths you hear about vaccines.
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Myth #1: Vaccines aren't safe
Like any medication, there is a chance for a reaction from a vaccine. However, the diseases that are prevented with vaccines are far worse than the risk of side effects.
Vaccines are thoroughly tested and carefully monitored to make sure they're safe External Site. And, if you do experience side effects, they're usually mild and not long-term.
Myth #2: Vaccines are only for kids
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows vaccination rates for adults are low. And, every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. experience serious health problems, are hospitalized and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.
The truth is, you never outgrow the need for immunizations. Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, you may be at risk for other diseases due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel or health condition. Plus, the protection from some vaccines can wear off over time.
Myth #3: The diseases these vaccines prevent don't exist anymore
Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in other parts of the world. So, if those diseases make it to the U.S. through an unvaccinated traveler, outbreaks can occur.
Take measles, for example. Thanks to widespread vaccination, measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. However, there are still some new cases reported each year.
In 2015, a multi-state outbreak of measles was linked to a California amusement park. In 2019, the state of New York announced that they're experiencing the largest measles outbreak in recent history with more than 100 people diagnosed. Both of these examples show how diseases like measles can spread when they reach groups of people who aren't vaccinated.
Myth #4: Vaccines cost too much money
Wellmark is here for you to bust this myth! Vaccines are often covered by your Wellmark health insurance plan — some at no cost to you, depending on whether or not they're considered preventive. Before getting a vaccine, log in to myWellmark Opens New Window® to check your benefits, and be sure to use an in-network provider.
If you don't have health insurance, a federally funded program called Vaccines for Children (VFC) External Site may cover the cost of vaccines for kids.
Childhood vaccinations and the COVID-19 pandemic
If you've delayed preventive care for either you or your child during the COVID-19 pandemic, you're not alone. Many Americans have avoided going to the doctor, which has unfortunately also meant significant drops in critical childhood vaccinations. According to data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), 40 percent of parents say their children missed vaccinations due to COVID-19. And, it's estimated that as many as nine million doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), diptheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTap) and polio vaccines could be missed by the end of 2020. It's important for people to stay up-to-date on necessary vaccines to maintain community protections against serious diseases.
If you or your child have missed out on important preventive care and immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, make an appointment with your personal doctor to get your care back on track.