Feature Article: How Well Can You Do with These Vaccine Trivia Questions?

Published on in Parents PACK

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)! Have fun this NIAM with these trivia questions from the Vaccine Education Center’s Just the Vax: Trivia Game.

  1. In 1916, rumors circulated that candy was the cause of which infectious disease?
    1. Measles
    2. Smallpox
    3. Polio
    4. Influenza

The correct answer is C. In 1916, rumors circulated that candy caused polio. Candy was also rumored as the cause of other infectious diseases, such as cerebrospinal meningitis. In fact, candy was so frequently blamed for poisonings and injuries that the National Confectioners Association thoroughly investigated almost every report on “candy poisonings” and refuted such claims.

Can you imagine being a school-aged child and not being allowed to have candy? Luckily, the cause of polio was found, a vaccine was made, and candy was off the hook. As July rolls into August, it is a good time to make sure your child is up to date on vaccines against polio and other diseases, so that when back-to-school time arrives, you aren’t struggling to get an appointment with a busy healthcare provider.

Learn more about vaccines for school-aged children on the VEC’s page for 4- to 6-year-olds or the School-Aged Children Pinterest board.

  1. When are pregnant women recommended to receive the Tdap vaccine?
    1. Any time during pregnancy
    2. After 12 weeks of gestation during each pregnancy
    3. Between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation during each pregnancy
    4. Any time during first pregnancy

The correct answer is C. Pregnant women are recommended to get Tdap vaccine to protect their unborn babies from pertussis in the weeks and months after birth before they are immunized. While anytime during the 27- to 36-week window is acceptable for getting the vaccine, public health officials suggest aiming for receipt earlier during the window than later.

Pregnancy and new parenthood often involves many questions and conversations about vaccines. The VEC has a dedicated webpage, vaccine.chop.edu/yourbaby, with reliable information and resources for this exciting period of life, as well as a dedicated Pinterest board.

  1. President James Garfield experienced the loss of two of his children from vaccine-preventable diseases. What diseases were they?
    1. Diphtheria and pertussis
    2. Measles and rubella
    3. Smallpox and pneumococcus
    4. Polio and influenza

The correct answer is A. President Garfield’s daughter, Eliza, died from diphtheria in 1863. Thirteen years later, Garfield’s son, Edward, died from pertussis. Garfield’s presidency lasted only 200 days as he died of an infection suffered from a gunshot wound during an assassination attempt.

Today, infants receive four doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine before 2 years of age as part of the recommended infant immunization schedule. Consequently, diphtheria has largely been eliminated from the United States, and pertussis (whooping cough) is less of a mortal threat than during Garfield’s time. More information on vaccine considerations for newborns and infants is available on the VEC’s birth to 2-years-old page or on the Newborns and Infants Pinterest board.

  1. What U.S. president survived infections with smallpox, diphtheria and malaria?
    1. Andrew Jackson
    2. George Washington
    3. Ulysses S. Grant
    4. John Adams

The correct answer is B. Washington witnessed many epidemics, including the yellow fever epidemic in 1793. In his teenage years, Washington was often sick and fell ill with diphtheria, malaria and smallpox at ages 15, 17 and 19, respectively.

After surviving teenage years like that, it’s no wonder Washington had the strength to win the Revolutionary War and become the country’s first president. While the diseases Washington suffered aren’t as great a worry for many of today’s teens, there are vaccines that teens should get, including those against HPV, meningococcus, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Visit the VEC’s adolescent and teens/college pages for more information, or visit our Pinterest board.

  1. Why are people 50 years of age and older recommended to get a shingles vaccine when most of them have had chickenpox?
    1. The virus that causes chickenpox remains in the nerves and can reawaken as a person ages, causing shingles.
    2. Because anyone over 50 years old can get shingles, even if they haven’t had chickenpox.
    3. Because exposure to chickenpox only provides immunity during youth.
    4. Because shingles virus is different enough that having chickenpox previously doesn’t matter.

The correct answer is A. People 50 years of age and older are recommended to receive a shingles vaccine because the virus that causes chickenpox remains in the nerves after the initial infection subsides. As a person ages and their immune system weakens, the virus can reawaken and cause shingles.

While we think of vaccines as a childhood need, the reality is adults are 100 times more likely to die from a vaccine-preventable disease than children. Learn more about the recommended vaccines for adults on the adult vaccination page or on our Adults Pinterest board.

  1. Which disease no longer infects any person in the world because of successful vaccination programs?
    1. Polio
    2. Smallpox
    3. Rotavirus
    4. Diphtheria

The correct answer is B. Smallpox is currently the only disease to be eradicated from the world by a vaccine. Efforts are underway to add polio to the list of eradicated diseases.

Get more trivia

We hope you enjoyed this month’s trivia newsletter in celebration of National Immunization Awareness Month. If you enjoyed these trivia questions, visit Just the Vax, the VEC’s online trivia game. You can choose from four categories and play rounds that include 10-question trivia sets. At the end of each round, you’ll get your score to compare to those of other players.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.