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.


Vaccines Are What You Need

Every August, the health community celebrates National Immunization Month. This period aims to showcase the importance of vaccinations and their role in preventing illness, long-term health issues, and even death. From adolescence to adulthood, vaccinations are always recommended since some can wear off over the years, while others may become available as you get older.

To further highlight the importance of vaccines, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) listed some of the top reasons to be vaccinated.

  • Vaccine-preventable diseases haven’t gone away
    • Illnesses from dangerous viruses and bacteria are still be passed on to those in frequent contact.
  • Vaccines keep you healthy
    • Vaccines are as important as diet and exercise, as they protect you throughout life from many infections.
  • Vaccines can prevent death
    • Approximately 55,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
  • Vaccines won’t give you the disease
    • Vaccines contain killed or weakened viruses designed to prevent you from catching the disease.
  • Vaccine-preventable disease can be expensive
    • Illnesses like the flu, or other diseases like hepatitis are not only expensive to treat, but may also keep you out of work for an extended period of time.

If you’re not up to date on all your vaccines, which ones should you consider? The NFID recommends the following:

  • Influenza*
  • Tetanus*
  • Diphtheria*
  • Pertussis*
  • Shingles*
  • Hepatitis B*
  • HPV*

*– available at R-Health practices

There are many preventable diseases that can severely impact your life. Vaccination could prevent you from their effects that could leave you permanently disabled, out of work for significant time, drive up your medical bills, and even spread to your family and friends. Protect yourself and those around you from vaccine-preventable diseases. Visit your doctor’s office to determine which vaccines you need on a schedule that is based on your health, immune status and lifestyle factors.  Please talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions that are preventing you from getting vaccinated.

Vaccinations, Please

One of the common misconceptions revolving around healthcare happens to deal with immunizations. Many people may believe that the need for immunizations ends in adolescence, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Every year there are thousands of adult cases of serious health problems that lead to hospitalization, or even death that could have been prevented by immunization. August is National Immunization Awareness Month and the goal is to highlight the importance vaccinations play in the health of people of all ages.

WebMD lists a few reasons to get immunized:

  • Immunizations protect you and/or your children from dangerous diseases, and help reduce the spread of disease to others.
  • They are often needed for entrance into schools or day cares, and sometimes needed for employment, or travel to another county.
  • Getting immunizations cost less than the treatment for the disease you are trying to get protected from.

Furthermore, as we mentioned, while the importance of vaccines for children is well known, the trend doesn’t quite carryover to adulthood and Healthmap helped discuss this trend. One of the main barriers is that adults simply don’t realize they need immunizations. While many may receive a flu vaccine, many more are unaware of the need for others. For example, the shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60+, yet less than 16% of that population has received it.

We believe we should continue to encourage everyone, including adults, to get their vaccines. Even if you received them as children, as you get older they tend to wear off, and you can especially be susceptible to illness if you have chronic diseases. Adults with heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes are especially urged to stay up to date with vaccines. The CDC recommends that all adults get the following vaccines:

  • Influenza vaccine (every year to protect against the flu)
  • Td vaccine (every 10 years for tetanus)
  • Tdap vaccine (Protects against tetanus, whooping cough, and should use during each pregnancy)
  • Other vaccines (shingles, HPV, measles, mumps, hepatitis A and B, etc.)

Vaccinations are important no matter what stage of life you’re in. Preventable diseases tend to reappear when immunization rates drop so it’s vital to keep up with your vaccines. Luckily, R-Health members can get their vaccines right in the office, at no additional cost to you. Last minute vacations are still in the works, and back to school season is just a few weeks away, so be sure to consult with your doctor and schedule any immunizations you and/or your children may need. If you have questions or fears about any vaccines, your R-Health doctor is available for a free and open discussion. Your individual health is always our top priority.