5 Frequently Asked Questions About Vaccinations
To a non-medical professional, the science behind vaccines may seem a little unsettling. Vaccination involves injecting a person with a killed or weakened organism to make him or her immune to the very disease caused by that organism. Because this can be a difficult concept to grasp, there is a lot of misinformation floating around. Many people have a lot of questions surrounding the efficacy and safety of vaccinations. Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers to get you started.
- What does a vaccine do?
Vaccines protect a person against disease by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that fight against certain viruses or bacteria.
- Which diseases do vaccines protect against?
Infants get vaccines that protect against measles, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A and B, rotavirus, chickenpox, and influenza, to name a few.
- If we don’t know anyone with these diseases, does my baby really need to be vaccinated against them?
Even though a few of these diseases have been virtually eliminated due to high rates of vaccination in the past, outbreaks can still occur here in the United States. Some diseases, like measles, are common elsewhere and can reenter the country in the system of a traveler.
- Who should get vaccinated?
You will get the majority of your vaccinations during childhood, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting the influenza vaccine every year. New strains circulate the nation every flu season, so getting your vaccination renewed every year is a wise decision. In case you forget, hospitals and other medical professionals now use flu shot tracking software and NHSN flu reporting software, and the vaccine tracking system can remind your physician when it’s time to update your vaccinations. Studies show that computerized physician reminders like the flu shot tracking software have increased influenza vaccinations in hospital patients dramatically.
- Are vaccines safe?
Vaccines are some of the safest medical products out there, and scientists are always working to improve them. Before being used on the public, vaccines must undergo extensive testing and become licensed. For the most part, side effects from vaccinations are minor. A patient may experience some soreness at the injection site or a low-grade fever, but these effects often pass quickly.
The truth is vaccines prevent more than 2.5 million deaths every year. They’re not just effective and safe, they’re necessary for the wellbeing of every child and adult in any community. For more immunization info, consult your physician today.