Understanding why we get vaccinated for various diseases and who is eligible for which vaccine can save lives worldwide. Some vaccines available can provide long-term or life-long protection against certain infectious diseases. Throughout childhood various vaccines are recommended to fight against diseases such as Influenza, Whooping Cough, Hepatitis B, and Measles. Continuing to keep up to date with vaccines throughout adulthood not only keeps you protected but those you surround yourself with.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines teach the body how to defend itself against infectious disease by imitating the disease and engages your natural immune system. When your body first recognizes there is a foreign disease, your white blood cells will produce antibodies to identify and fight the disease. Once the disease has been eliminated, the antibodies now know how to fight the disease if you are ever exposed to it after being vaccinated. It is possible for a vaccinated person to get infected with a disease they have been vaccinated for, however they are less likely to have complications or die from the disease1.
Why should you get vaccinated?
1 – They Cannot Cause the Disease They are Meant to Prevent
Antigens are the active ingredients inside of vaccines which causes your immune system to begin producing antibodies. Depending on the vaccine, antigens can come from: genetic materials from the disease, a weakened or killed bacteria or virus, or a non-toxic bacteria1.
2 – They Protect Your Loved Ones
When you introduce your immune system to various diseases, you are protecting yourself from getting sick and you are avoiding spread preventable diseases to those you come into close contact with2. Those who cannot receive the same vaccines are those with weakened immune systems or they are too young for vaccines. Stay up to date with your immunizations by speaking with your health care team or seeing which vaccines you are eligible for here.
3 – Vaccines Keep You Healthy
Throughout childhood into adulthood you will receive a variety of vaccines. These vaccines are there to prevent you from getting serious diseases that can lead to lifelong complications or death. Some vaccines you may receive are to prevent you from getting Hepatitis B, Human papillomavirus (HPV), seasonal influenza, and COVID-19.
4 – Immunizations Are Safe
In the United States the CDC has a lengthy approval process before vaccines are licensed to the public. There could be some possible side effects from vaccines, but they are less severe than the diseases they prevent. Over time some vaccines may fade and may require a booster to maintain protection2. If you are unsure which ones you may need a booster for, speak to your health care provider or click here to see which vaccines may need a booster.
5 – In Some Cases They Might be Required
For all ages certain vaccines are required to enter schools, work, or for traveling. For students in close quarters, vaccines can prevent viruses from quickly spreading from one student to another. Healthcare workers and other care positions require immunizations to ensure preventable diseases aren’t spread between their patients and the work team.
Or if you are planning a trip to another country, you may be required to receive certain immunizations before visiting. This is because some regions of the world may not have access to those same vaccines or have not been exposed to those deadly viruses. When traveling its always good to check, see a complete list of travel destinations and the vaccines required to enter by clicking here.
How to Track Your Vaccines
Tracking from person to person can vary. Unfortunately, there is not a national standard for everyone. If you are trying to track down whether you have received a certain vaccine, you should first check with your parent or health care provider. If they are unable to find the record of you receiving that vaccine, it is safe to get the same vaccine a second time5.
After you have tracked down your vaccine records you can record your immunizations on a tracker like the one pictured below (or download it from the CDC here).
With trackers like this one from the CDC, you can have better access to your or a loved one’s health records. This will make it easier for you to determine what immunizations you need when you need them and can help better guide you when you are needing a booster.
Vaccines help your body build a natural immunity against diseases. Keeping track of your immunizations can help you stay up to date to protect yourself and loved ones. If you are concerned about which vaccines are right for you it is recommended to first speak with your health care provider. They can guide you to which vaccines are right for you and provide guidance on how to get them.