Why are so many people afraid of air travel? Statistically speaking, flying is far safer than driving, but most of us don’t hesitate to get in the car. The true side effects and risks of modern flight—long waits, physical discomfort, exposure to other people’s germs, and the indignities of airport security—don’t keep them from flying. It’s the highly publicized and catastrophic (but extremely rare) airplane crash that’s doing all the scaring. 

This brings us to the subject of vaccinations. Sure, there are common and uncomfortable side effects from many vaccines, such as fever and muscle soreness. Yet truly scary or deadly reactions—such as potentially fatal allergies—are incredibly rare. 

The price of not flying is an annoyingly long road trip—but when you aren’t vaccinated, you’re gambling with your health and your life. Measles, whooping cough, or one of many vaccine-preventable diseases is practically guaranteed to feel worse than vaccination. Plus your chances of brain damage or death are much higher than from any vaccine. 

In the end, most people fly anyway. They put up with the minor inconveniences and the miniscule risk of severe danger, reminding themselves that flying is generally considered to be one of the safest forms of travel. They put their faith in the highly educated and experienced engineers who build the planes and the pilots who fly them. They trust that these people know what they are doing. 

Most people in the US also get vaccinations for themselves and their children. They trust that their doctors really do want what’s best for them, and that there’s value in a medical education.

If you have questions or concerns about vaccines, please ask your doctor about them. What you learn should make you feel more comfortable about immunizing your family. You might even get to keep your shoes on!

 For more detailed information about vaccination risks and the risks of the diseases they prevent, please check out: