Why is vaccination important to you?
Vaccinations are an important part of family and public health. Your body builds a defence system to fight foreign germs that could make you sick or hurt you. It is called the immune system. To build up your immune system, your body must be exposed to different germs. When your body is exposed to a germ for the first time, it produces antibodies to fight it. But it takes time for the antibodies to build up, and you usually get sick before that. But once developed, the antibodies will stay in your body and attack the germs next time you are exposed it, so you will not get sick.
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How do vaccines help us?
- Protect you and your child from many serious and potentially deadly diseases
- Protect other people in your community – by helping to stop diseases from spreading to people who cannot have vaccines
- Help to reduce and even eradicate diseases – if enough people are vaccinated
- COVID-19 vaccination helps to protect you from severe illness or post-covid 19 conditions by creating an antibody response.
- Flu vaccine lowers your risk of flu-related heart attacks or other flu-related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease.
- Pneumococcal vaccine protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections which can lead to pneumonia, blood poisoning (sepsis) and meningitis.
- Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication from shingles.
- Whooping cough vaccination is recommended for all babies and children, preteens and teens, and pregnant women. Whooping cough is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria which attach to the cilia in the upper respiratory system. The bacteria release toxins (poisons), which damage the cilia and cause airways to swell.
- Hepatitis B vaccine lowers your risk of liver cancer
- HPV vaccine lowers your risk of cervical cancer
- Flu vaccine lowers your risk of flu-related heart attacks or other flu-related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease
There has been confusion and misunderstandings about vaccines. Are vaccines safe?
- Vaccines are safe because they undergo rigorous safety testing before being introduced. They are also constantly monitored for side effects after being introduced
- Vaccines sometimes cause mild side effects that will not last long. Some children may feel a bit unwell and have a sore arm for 2 or 3 days
- Vaccines do not cause autism. Studies have found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism
- Vaccines do not overload or weaken the immune system. It is safe to give children several vaccines at a time and this reduces the number of injections they need
- Vaccines do not contain mercury
- Vaccines do not contain any ingredients that cause harm in such small amounts. But speak to your doctor if you have any known allergies
Mild side effects are expected. Like any medicine, vaccines can cause side effects such as a low-grade fever, or pain and redness at the injection site. Mild reactions go away within a few days on their own. Severe, long-lasting side effects are extremely rare. If you have questions or concerns about a vaccine, talk with your doctor.
Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition. They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease. Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease. For example, newborn babies are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough. Unfortunately, whooping cough can be very dangerous or even deadly for them. Pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine during every pregnancy to help protect their babies from whooping cough. Anyone who is around babies should be up-to-date with their whooping cough vaccine.
Adults need to keep their vaccinations up-to-date because immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off over time. You are also at risk for different diseases as an adult. All adults need influenza vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine, tetanus vaccine and so on. You may need other vaccines (such as the human papillomavirus vaccine, hepatitis A, B and so on) based on your age, health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits.
Living a busy life and having much responsibility to bear, the stake is high for you to get sick. Vaccines, which protects you from preventable sickness, can help you stay healthy and enjoy the time with your loved ones.