Vaccines help to prevent disease, but there are a lot of misconceptions about them that keep people from getting immunized. Get the facts and learn more about vaccines with these common questions.

What is the purpose of a vaccine?

Vaccines reduce the risks of getting a disease by working WITH your body’s natural defenses to build protection.

How do vaccines work?

There are different kinds of vaccines that all work a little differently.  Ultimately vaccines help protect you by imitating the infection in a way that never causes an illness but does cause your immune system to create antibodies.  These antibodies will remember how to fight the disease if your body ever encounters it in the future.  By getting a vaccine you develop immunity to that disease without having to get the disease first.  For more information on the different kinds of vaccines there are you can visit: Understanding How Vaccines Work | CDC

What are the benefits of vaccines?

Ultimately vaccines protect you and your loved ones from getting sick with diseases that have caused serious illness, pain, disability and even death in the past.  Many of us have never experienced cases of vaccine preventable diseases firsthand such as measles, polio and meningitis due to the vaccines that we receive.

Vaccines also help protect those around us who cannot get vaccinated such as newborns, those undergoing cancer treatments or who have a weakened immune system or have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous vaccine dose.

Are there any risks or side effects to getting vaccinated?

Most vaccines come with very little risks and most have very mild side effects, if any.  Common side effects include low grade fever (a sign of your immune system working to build up antibodies) and soreness at the injection site.

Vaccines have NOT been linked to increases in health problems such as autism, asthma or auto-immune diseases.  We do know that lack of vaccination can threaten a long and healthy life.

Rarely, an individual might have an allergic reaction to a vaccine.  These allergic reactions are treatable and very rare.

What are the risks of not getting vaccinated?

The risks of not getting vaccinated is that you do not have protection against a disease that can cause great harm.  All vaccine preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and in other places around the world and can cause outbreaks in communities, affecting those who do not have immunity to that disease.  If you chose not to vaccinate yourself or your family, it is important to have a conversation with your primary care provider about what steps to take if there is an outbreak and what to watch for.

Are there other ingredients in vaccines and what do they do?

There are in fact other ingredients in vaccines that help provide protection, keep the vaccine safe and long lasting, prevent contamination and are used in the production of the vaccine.  They are all used in safe amounts and at levels that are much lower than what already resides in our body naturally.

If you have more questions about the specific ingredients that make up a vaccine speak with your provider as they can discuss them in more detail with you and address your concerns.

Can a vaccine give someone the disease it’s supposed to prevent?

Vaccines cannot give someone the disease they are used to prevent.  Vaccines contain the same germs that cause the disease, but those germs are inactivated or weakened to the point that they do not make you sick.



Since March 2020, COVID-19 testing has been evolving. Many people still have questions on tests, including what kind of test may be right for you?

Currently there are two kinds of diagnostic tests for COVID-19: PCR and antigen (rapid). The ideal time for any COVID-19 diagnostic test is 5-7 days after possible exposure, or shortly after symptoms develop. There is also one that looks for a past infection called an antibody test.

PCR test

The PCR test is often considered the “gold standard” test.

  • PCR tests use a nasopharyngeal swab goes deep into your nose or to the back of your throat. Results may take 2 to 3 days or longer to come back.
  • Sometimes it is too sensitive. If you are asymptomatic and you test positive with a PCR test, it may represent an infection that you had even as far back as two months ago. However, we need to act on it as if you were currently infected.
Antigen or rapid test
  • While this test may take only 10 to 20 minutes to analyze, due to backlogs and testing delays, it may take up to a day to come back.
  • This test is less sensitive than a PCR test which means if the probability is high that you have COVID-19 but test negative with an antigen test, you may be recommended to follow up with a PCR test anyway.
  • One benefit of an antigen test is that if you are positive with an antigen test, you are most likely currently infectious.
  • The main drawback of the antigen test is that if you test a little too early or a little too late, you may miss an active infection.
Antibody tests

Antibody tests are blood tests that look for past infection and present antibodies conferring protection against repeated exposure to COVID-19. It is best to wait several weeks after an infection before testing for antibodies. However, antibody tests are not routinely recommended at this time since: 

  • Having antibodies does not necessarily mean that a person is immune. For example, a person may have been exposed to seasonal varieties of coronavirus (which circulate yearly in the United States and cause mild cold symptoms) which could possibly cause a false positive COVID-19 antibody test. 
  • Antibodies are sometimes not at a level high enough to be detected on the blood test, even when you have had COVID-19.  
If you still have questions on COVID-19 testing, do not hesitate to reach out to us.


Let’s face it—this year has been tough on all of us but that doesn’t mean your health should take a back seat. Your health, something you can strongly influence, has an impact on all areas of your life.

Plan for a fresh start in 2021 by setting realistic goals for yourself. Try incorporating some of these 5 New Year’s resolution ideas for a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Unplug yourself from technology. Turn your phone off, limit your computer time and don’t watch TV. Instead, do something that requires no technology at all. Taking a break from electronics will give your mind a chance to recharge, leaving you feeling more focused.
  2. Increase your physical strength. Most people say they don’t have time to work out so they skip it all together. Start by adding 5 minutes, then 10 minutes until you’ve reached 30 minutes of physical exercise each day. This will not only improve your physical health, but your mental health as well.
  3. Plan and prep your meals. Instead of worrying about seeing a certain number on the scale, plan your meals ahead of time so you’re less likely to get off track. The number on the scale will soon follow.
  4. Maintain a positive mindset. Your mental health is an important part of your overall health. Challenges and setback are inevitable—as most of us experienced in 2020—but having a positive attitude will keep you motivated to stick with all of your other health goals.
  5. Book your doctor’s visits for the year. Open your calendar and make your appointments for the year. Booking your appointments in advance will help you avoid unwanted stress while ensuring you’re up to date on all your necessary screenings to help keep you healthy. Give us a call to schedule your visit.