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  • Why do some vaccines require multiple doses?
    Multiple doses help create long-lasting antibodies and protection against disease. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/how-do-vaccines-work
  • Are vaccines safe? How are vaccines tested?
    Vaccines go through a rigorous testing process before they are approved and distributed to the public. They must be both safe and effective in order to get approved, and their safety is constantly monitored even after approval. For information about the testing process and timeline, here are some resources: https://www.hhs.gov/immunization/basics/safety/index.html https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/how-are-vaccines-developed?gclid=Cj0KCQiAtvSdBhD0ARIsAPf8oNlAeikPKjQ-J6oGjp9ATSRNjP2cElxeUQPcEt-siPuB2LzM5TJj5YoaAgvVEALw_wcB https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/vaccine-development
  • What Does Efficacy Mean?
    Efficacy is a way of comparing how likely you are to get infected with a disease with or without a vaccine. The efficacy rate is relative to the initial chance of infection without a vaccine. ​ If a vaccine has 90% efficacy rate, that means that your chances of getting infected have decreased by 90%. It does not mean that you have a 10% chance of getting infected. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-efficacy-and-effectiveness
  • Who is funding this website? Are you being paid to say vaccines are safe?
    Know Your Vaccines is self-funded, so I am actually losing money to say vaccines are safe. Know Your Vaccines is not funded by any external sources and does not have any financial conflicts of interest. It does not receive funding from any companies or organizations (public or private) and does not have any advertising or brand deals.
  • How can I support Know Your Vaccines?
    The best way to support Know Your Vaccines is to tell people about us! You can follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and engage with our posts.
  • What is Know Your Vaccines?
    Know Your Vaccines is a resource that provides accessible information about vaccine ingredients. Understanding vaccine ingredients shouldn't require a science degree, so this website explains the purpose of each ingredient and compares the amount of each vaccine ingredient to the amount in common foods or medicines.
  • Is Know Your Vaccines a non-profit organization?
    Know Your Vaccines is not a registered non-profit organization. However, Know Your Vaccines is personally financed and does not seek or accept donations, so it does not make money.
  • Is natural immunity better than immunity from vaccines?
    This question is a bit complicated. For some diseases, natural immunity can last longer and offer slightly better protection. However, immunity from vaccines is much safer than trying to develop natural immunity. Vaccine-preventable diseases are generally quite dangerous, so getting infected means risking severe symptoms or even death from the disease. For a great overview of this topic, click here
  • What are reliable sources for learning about vaccines?
    Here is a list of some recommended sources: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Vaccine Education Center: https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/ Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/ Food and Drug Administration: https://www.fda.gov/ Vaccine Knowledge Project: http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/ Institute for Vaccine Safety: https://www.hopkinsvaccine.org/ Immunization Action Coalition: https://www.immunize.org/ Teens For Vaccines: https://teensforvaccines.org/ Vaxteen: https://www.vaxteen.org/ This Podcast Will Kill You: https://thispodcastwillkillyou.com/ History of Vaccines: https://historyofvaccines.org/
  • How can I approach conversations with people who are vaccine-hesitant?
    Talking to people who are hesitant or against vaccines can be challenging, but here are some tips to help you get started:​ Don't start by trying to convince them! Instead, listen and ask questions. Try to find the source of their concerns or hesitancy. Empathize with their concerns. Make sure they know you are taking them seriously and not judging them. Try mirroring their language. You could say something like "It seems like your main concern is ___." This approach helps people feel heard. If they seem receptive to it, you can redirect them to information related to their concerns. You could also say something like "I used to worry about that too, but then I saw/learned ______ (a certain article, piece of information, etc.) and it made me feel a lot better."​ Don't expect them to be convinced right away. This can take time, so make sure they know that you are happy to have more conversations with them. For a step-by-step guide, check out the Teens for Vaccines Against Covid Toolkit or this COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook ​ For more information and strategies, Johns Hopkins University has a free online course called COVID Vaccine Ambassador Training: How to Talk to Parents. This course provides strategies for how to combat vaccine hesitancy by directing people to reliable sources and having empathetic and respectful conversations with them. The course takes about 2 hours to complete and you even get a certificate for completing it.
  • Do vaccines cause autism?
    Vaccines do not cause autism. Numerous studies have investigated the relationship between vaccination and autism and found no link. The claim that vaccines cause autism was popularized by Andrew Wakefield. He published a research paper in The Lancet which he speculates that MMR vaccination may cause autism. The paper itself does not claim that there is a causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The study only included 12 children, and all of them received the MMR vaccine. This paper found that 8 of them developed autism, and all of them had abnormal findings in their intestines. However, there are several issues with this study. The first issue is that 12 children is not a very large sample size (the number of people in a study). Having a very small sample size means that the findings are less likely to be representative of the population. In addition, this study does not compare the rates of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children, so we do not know if the findings would have been the same in unvaccinated children. However, these results were likely not real because other researchers tried and were unable to replicate his results. Another big problem is that Wakefield's research was being funded by personal injury lawyers, which means that he was motivated to show a connection between vaccines and autism. As a result of these problems, the article was retracted (removed) from The Lancet. For a list of studies that investigate (and do not find) a possible link between vaccines and autism, click here. https://www.nature.com/articles/ni1208-1317 https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccines-and-other-conditions/vaccines-autism https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2011/01/vaccine-autism-scare-researcher-who-started-it-all-falsified-data/342750/ https://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4026.pdf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6970301/ Retracted paper: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673697110960/fulltext
  • What is VAERS?
    The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a surveillance system. It works by people reporting adverse events after vaccination and looking for trends. ​ What does adverse event mean? An adverse event is a symptom or other event that occurred after vaccination. It does not imply that the event was caused by vaccination. ​Anyone can report an adverse event to VAERS, and the report does not require any evidence that the vaccine caused the adverse event. ​ What VAERS can do: VAERS is a great tool for monitoring trends. If a lot of people start reporting a particular adverse event, it can inspire research about whether this link is causal (whether it is a side effect). ​ Sometimes these reports signal a real side effect caused by the vaccine. For example, in 1997, VAERS data was used to alter the polio vaccine schedule to reduce side effects. In addition, it was recently used to show the link between COVID-19 vaccination and myocarditis in adolescent males (research study here) What VAERS cannot do: VAERS alone cannot demonstrate that a vaccine caused a particular effect​. ​ Events reported to VAERS do not have to be directly caused by vaccination. For example, if someone experiences a car accident after vaccination, that does not mean the vaccine caused the car accident. (VAERS car accident report here) For more informations about VAERS, click here and here
  • Should I spread out vaccines or use an alternative schedule?
    Alternative vaccine schedules have not been rigorously tested like the approved schedule. In addition, there has been no evidence that alternative schedules offer better protection than the current schedule, and they often leave kids unvaccinated for longer, which means they could contract vaccine-preventable diseases. If you have specific questions or concerns about vaccines, please talk to your doctor. For more information about alternative schedules: click here or here https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-schedule/altering-the-schedule http://www.bccdc.ca/resource-gallery/Documents/Training%20and%20Events/Immunization/Promotion/WCIF2011_JoanRobinson.pdf https://www.immunize.org/talking-about-vaccines/alternative-schedules.asp
  • Why are fetal cells used in vaccines?
    Viruses cannot reproduce on their own, they have to use other cells to divide. The vaccine is purified, so fetal cells are not present in the final vaccine. Some viruses specifically infect humans, so human cells (like fetal cells) are needed to grow the virus. Fetal cells are used because they can generally divide more than other human cells. No new fetuses are aborted to make these vaccines. Although Catholicism opposes abortion, use of these vaccines is encouraged as long as there is no alternative. The MMR, MMRV, Varicella, and Hepatitis A vaccines use fibroblast cells from two fetuses terminated in the 1960s. Fibroblast cells connect skin to connective tissue. The Jannsen (J&J) Covid Vaccine uses retinal cells from a fetus terminated in 1985. Retinal cells come from the eye. Sources: https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/fetal-tissues https://www.immunize.org/talking-about-vaccines/vaticandocument.htm https://vaccinateyourfamily.org/questions-about-vaccines/vaccine-ingredients/
  • How can ingredients sometimes be dangerous but be safe in vaccines?
    Ingredient amounts in vaccines are generally very small. In large quantities, almost anything can be dangerous or toxic, so the amount is very important. Many foods contain small amounts of substances that can be dangerous. For example, rice can contain arsenic, and cherries contain amygdalin, which the body converts into cyanide.

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Talking to People Who Are Hesitant:

Talking to people who are hesitant or against vaccines can be challenging, but here are some tips to help you get started:​

  • Don't start by trying to convince them!

  • Instead, listen and ask questions. Try to find the source of their concerns or hesitancy.

  • Empathize with their concerns. 

    • Make sure they know you are taking them seriously and not judging them. 

    • Try mirroring their language. You could say something like "It seems like your main concern is ___." This approach helps people feel heard.

    • If they seem receptive to it, you can redirect them to information related to their concerns.

    • You could also say something like "I used to worry about that too, but then I saw/learned ______ (a certain article, piece of information, etc.) and it made me feel a lot better."​

  • Don't expect them to be convinced right away. This can take time, so make sure they know that you are happy to have more conversations with them. 

 

For a step-by-step guide, check out the Teens for Vaccines Against Covid Toolkit or this COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook

For more information and strategies, Johns Hopkins University has a free online course called COVID Vaccine Ambassador Training: How to Talk to Parents. This course provides strategies for how to combat vaccine hesitancy by directing people to reliable sources and having empathetic and respectful conversations with them. The course takes about 2 hours to complete and you even get a certificate for completing it.

Last updated: Apr 21, 2023

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