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In the protracted fight against the COVID-19 plus the rapidly approaching flu season, experts from Stony Brook Medicine held a live stream session to separate vaccine fact from fiction. 

On August 17, Stony Brook Medicine hosted the online event "Vax Facts: Immunization Education and Awareness with Experts from Stony Brook Medicine," broadcasted on its official Facebook and YouTube channels.

Experts discuss the importance of vaccines and how they work, dispel misconceptions, and answer concerns about key vaccines. The discussion includes those for COVID-19, flu, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Stony Brook Experts Answer Public Concerns About Vaccination
(Photo: Stony Brook Medicine)

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Why Should You Get Vaccinated?

Dr. Sharon Nachman, Professor and the Division Chief for Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, facilitated the live stream program. She began by clarifying some of the terms often used in the vaccine conversation, such as immunization making people "immune" against a certain disease and vaccination being the most common way to get to it.

When asked about some of the vaccines typically used in children and why they are used, Dr. Jill Cioffi explained that it is important for people to understand what shots their children are having and why these vaccines are administered at different times in the baby's life.

Dr. Cioffi serves as the Medical Director of Ambulatory Primary Care Pediatrics and Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University.

"Babies are very prone to having very low immune systems," Dr. Cioffi noted. Usually, children are vaccinated to protect them from common diseases and ideally done before they become one year old. The next critical point in a child's life where vaccines are important is before going to school.

At this point, children are re-boosted, or they get the same vaccines they received when they were younger. This vaccination is done so that when they interact with other kids, they do not catch diseases from others and spread diseases themselves. Other shots are given during adolescence and adulthood to strengthen the body's resistance and provide protection for other illnesses.

Dispelling Misconceptions and Informing American Families

Across the "Vax Facts" event, doctors Nachman and Cioffi and pediatrician Dr. Lauren Ng responded to common myths and misconceptions about vaccines.

One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that vaccines, particularly COVID-19, can adversely affect fertility. This notion has been discredited by other medical institutions like Johns Hopkins and the British Medical Journal article.

Dr. Nachman cited multiple points on why vaccines do not affect fertility, echoing the statement of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) about pregnant women getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Ng shared her advice to parents about getting flu vaccines ahead of the U.S. flu season. She also discussed the importance of vaccines against human papillomavirus and how she breaks the news, and the necessity of vaccination against HPV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also notes that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. However, the Stony Brook experts noted that it could be transmitted in other ways.

You can see the entire "Vax Facts: Immunization Education and Awareness with Experts from Stony Brook Medicine" stream below:

 

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