Are you up to date with your vaccines? Immunizations aren’t just for children. In fact, the protection that some childhood vaccines offer wear off over time. Because of your age, health condition, lifestyle, profession, travel and other factors, you may also be at risk for certain diseases that can be prevented with immunization. It’s an easy way to protect your health! Support community immunity and arm your citizens with the information they need to be smart about immunization.
How do immunizations work?Your body has a natural immunity when you get sick. Invading germs are attacked by antibodies in your immune system, and should the same germs invade again, antibodies will recognize them and fight them off to prevent you from getting sick. However, serious and deadly diseases pose a grave threat, and vaccines are a safer way to protect you. Vaccines cause the body to produce antibodies, which protect the body against later infection by a particular agent. Keep in mind that immunizations are not available for many diseases, and not all vaccines work the same way. The smallpox vaccine, for example, provides almost immediate immunity and can be beneficial even if someone is vaccinated a few days after exposure. Other vaccines, like the anthrax vaccine, may require several doses over time before someone builds up immunity.
Are vaccines safe?One of the most widely debated issues around immunization is vaccine safety. Before a certain vaccine is recommended, it goes through years of lab testing and clinical trials. Batches of vaccines are tested for quality and safety, even after licensing and approval by the FDA and CDC, and even after they are recommended to the public. Most side-effects after vaccination are mild, and include:
- Pain, swelling or redness around the vaccination site.
- Mild fever.
- Muscle and joint aches.