Vaccinations
Types, Reasons to Get Them, What to Expect, Associated Risks & More

Vaccinations May Also be Known as:

  • Inoculations
  • Immunizations
  • Vaccines
  • Shots
  • Boosters
  • Injections



What are Vaccinations?

Since the day you were born, it’s likely that you have received a number of vaccinations in order to begin school and participate in extracurricular activities. If you don’t know exactly how vaccines work, that’s ok, we’re here to help. When germs, such as bacteria or viruses, invade your body, they begin to attack and multiply, causing an infection. Vaccines work by flooding your system with the same germs that cause these infections, only these germs have been killed or weakened so that they will not make you sick. The vaccine then helps stimulate your body to produce antibodies that will help you develop immunity to the disease without actually having to contract it first.

Types of Vaccinations

  • Influenza, or flu (flu shot)
  • TdapTetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Pneumococcal (PCV)
  • Rotavirus (RV)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal conjugate
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Zoster (shingles)

What Ages Should You Get Vaccines?

As you get older and your lifestyle changes, you may be required to obtain certain vaccinations. Here’s a quick list of the types of vaccine that may be suggested for you or a loved one during certain ages and life events:

1. Children

    Routine childhood vaccines include hepatitis B, rotavirus, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus (lock jaw), pertussis (whooping cough)), Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b), pneumococcal, polio, flu, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), chickenpox, hepatitis A, meningococcal, and HPV (human papillomavirus).

    2. Adults

    Routine adult vaccines include flu, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus (lock jaw), pertussis (whooping cough)), human papillomavirus (HPV), shingles, pneumococcal, meningococcal, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.

    3. Pregnant women

    The most common vaccines strongly encouraged for pregnant women to receive include pertussis – better known as whooping cough, and the flu, as both of these conditions can be life-threatening to newborns.

    4. Travelers

    Depending on the region you’re traveling to or from, you may be required to receive and/or it may be suggested that you receive certain vaccines. Be sure to check with a physician to see which vaccines may be needed for your next trip.

      What are the Benefits of Vaccinations?

      For one, they have helped to completely eradicate smallpox worldwide and are close to eradicating polio. Vaccination has also brought five other major human diseases under control, including whooping cough, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, and yellow fever. However, until a disease is completely eradicated, it is important to keep immunizing, since just a few cases can spread and cause a comeback that would undo years of progress.

      What are the Risks of Vaccinations?

      You may have heard some advocacy groups claiming that vaccines are unsafe; this assertion is largely unsubstantiated. The overwhelming majority of scientific evidence proves that negative side effects are rare and minor. In fact, most individuals who receive vaccinations do not experience anything worse than short-lived redness or itching at the spot of the injection. Still, you should consult your physician before you or a child is vaccinated, since your age, medical history, and other factors may negatively affect the way your body reacts to the vaccine.

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