Vaccination FAQs

  • Medical Author:

    Dr. Eddie Hooker is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville and at Wright State University. His areas of expertise include emergency medicine, epidemiology, health-services management, and public health.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Are there any dangers to being immunized?

There is no such thing as a risk-free vaccine. However, the health risk of not being vaccinated is real and is clearly greater than that of being vaccinated. Most side effects from vaccinations are mild and limited to local reactions at the injection site and/or a mild fever. Unfortunately, there are rare serious and even fatal side effects related to vaccines. While these events are sad, not taking the vaccine could also result in death or disability.

Can people with severe egg allergies still get an annual influenza vaccination?

Starting in 2013, there is now an influenza vaccine specifically for people with egg allergy. Most influenza vaccines are made using eggs. Therefore, people with severe egg allergy had previously been recommended not to receive the influenza vaccine. However, the new vaccine, recombinant hemagglutinin influenza vaccine (RIV), is not made using eggs. This vaccine is safe for patients with egg allergy.

What reactions are likely after an immunization?

Most reactions to vaccines are mild and self-limited. These are usually limited pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the vaccination. These occur in up to 80% of individuals and start within hours of the vaccination. Some people can get more generalized symptoms, including fever, muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite, and feeling generally tired. These systemic (generalized) reactions are seen more commonly with live attenuated vaccines and usually occur seven to 21 days after the vaccine was given. The worst (and very uncommon) reaction is anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction). These reactions usually occur shortly after the vaccine is given and can be life-threatening. Fortunately, these reactions only occur two times for every million doses of vaccine given.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/25/2015

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  • Vaccinations - Indications

    Have you followed the standard recommendations to vaccinate you or your children? Why or why not?

  • Vaccinations - Contraindications

    Are you a person who has a condition that prevents you from being vaccinated? Please describe it.


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