Vaccinations Risk Benefit

Most people know the benefits of getting themselves and their children vaccinated against dangerous diseases. Few, however, know about the risks that may be involved with vaccination.

In most cases, vaccination risks are minor and well worth undergoing to get the protection that vaccinations provide. However, experts still recommend familiarizing yourself with vaccination risks and benefits.

Vaccination Benefits

Vaccination benefits include disease prevention and halting the spread of disease over a large population. Vaccinations could even save your life or that of your child.

Vaccines stimulate an immune response in an individual to produce antibodies — or disease fighters — against a certain illness. They do this by introducing a dead or weakened version of the disease into the body. This debilitated version is easier for the body to kill than a strong version of the disease would be. The next time the body comes into contact with the disease, the immune system knows which antibodies to produce to kill it.

In this way, the body can fight the disease off before it has a chance to make you sick. Before the invention of vaccines, many diseases spread like wildfire and killed many people in little time. Now, many vaccines are required for children at different milestones in life.

Vaccination Risks

Some vaccinations carry a small risk of a person actually getting the disease. This doesn’t usually occur, and if it does, the sickness isn’t as intense as a full-blown version would be. Mild fever, lessened symptoms or swelling at the injection site may occur. Infection is most likely to occur in individuals who have weakened immune systems or other serious diseases that infect the immune system, such as AIDS.

Vaccine reactions may also occur, but these are more common in people with:

  • Convulsions
  • History of vaccine reactions
  • Neurological disorders
  • Severe allergies
  • Weakened immune systems.

Although vaccinations do have some risks, these are very rare. Talk to your doctor about vaccination risks before having a vaccine administered on you or your child.

Resources

National Vaccine Information Center. (n.d.). If you vaccinate, ask eight questions. Retrieved November 7, 2007, from http://www.909shot.com/.

The Healing Center Online. (n.d.). Children’s vaccines: Research on the risks for children and possible neurological consequences. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.healing-arts.org/children/vaccines/.