- Why do people need vaccines? What is immunization? What is immunity?
- How can people become immune (protected)?
- Are there different types of vaccines?
- Can people receive multiple vaccinations during one visit to the doctor?
- Are there any dangers to being immunized?
- Can people with severe egg allergies still get an annual influenza vaccination?
- What reactions are likely after an immunization?
- Who should not receive a vaccine?
- What vaccines can women receive while pregnant?
- What are invalid reasons for postponing vaccination?
- Why do people keep getting vaccines if the numbers of cases of the vaccine preventable diseases are at a record low in the United States?
- Is there any financial help for people who have been injured by vaccines?
- Is there anything different that health-care workers need to do compared with non-health-care workers?
- Do people need any additional vaccinations for foreign travel?
- Where can people find additional information on immunizations?
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.