Vaccines are reduced or weakened microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. They’re usually given by injection to increase protection against a disease. These weakened microorganisms act as an antigen to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies, thus preventing infection.
The first vaccine was invented by Edward Jenner to protect against smallpox in 1796. In the 20th century, other vaccines were introduced against pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus. Over the years, vaccines have protected children from diseases like diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, whooping cough, and others.
Lately, there’s been a controversy regarding vaccination due to the Dengvaxia issue, wherein children have died after being given the dengue vaccine. Other healthcare providers suggested natural immunity, like exposure to the disease, which Mayo Clinic opposed. Their reasons are:
- Natural chickenpox infection could lead to pneumonia.
- Natural polio infection could cause permanent paralysis.
- Hemophilus Influenzae Type-B infection may cause permanent brain damage or even death.
Thus, vaccination is indeed necessary to prevent these diseases and their potentially serious complications.
Side Effects Of Vaccines
Vaccines do have side effects. The risk of incurring serious harm or death is very minimal compared to the benefits of preventing serious illnesses through vaccination. During the flu season, people are reminded to get an anti-flu shot.
According to studies, although the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) has noted adverse reactions such as risks of febrile seizure during the first 2 weeks of immunization and risks of epilepsy, it still has limited scientific evidence. It doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes and neither does it cause autism.
The Dengvaxia controversy brought about many doubts and questions regarding vaccination per se. After reviewing all possible reactions to vaccines, it’s only the dengue vaccine that has proven to have serious side effects.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first Dengvaxia produced by Sanofi is a live recombinant tetra valent dengue vaccine given in a 3-dose series on a 0-6-12-month schedule to individuals 9 to 45 years old living in endemic areas. Rapid climate change has contributed to the rapid spread of infectious diseases that prompted WHO to develop vaccines and promote enhanced immunization programs. This vaccine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Top 7 Reactions To Vaccines
The following are the top 7 most common reactions to vaccines you may experience:
- Pain, swelling or redness on the site of injection.
- Mild fever
- Feeling tired
- Muscle and joint aches
- Loss of appetite
On rare occasions, some people may experience severe hypersensitivity reactions and neurological side effects like seizures depending on the vaccine they have been given. The danger of severe allergic reactions is that it may cause death due to shock. You need to notify your doctor for any symptom like itchy throat, cough, difficulty in breathing with wheezing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
Some have also been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which is a neurological disorder that affects the immune system and the body’s peripheral nerves, causing it to attack itself. Long-term health effects can arise from this disorder.
Precautions Of Receiving Vaccines
When being given a vaccine, here are some things to remember:
- Your doctor must know if you have any history of allergies.
- Precautions are given to breastfeeding mothers as certain vaccines may cause adverse effects on infants.
- There are medications that may not be taken together with certain vaccines. Medications like Cyclosporine, Chlorambucil, Azathioprine, Procarbazine, and many more have been known to cause more adverse reactions when a vaccine is given.
Types Of Vaccines And Their Reactions
There are a number of reactions to vaccines depending on the type you have. Let’s look closer into some of the different types:
- Smallpox – Smallpox vaccines have mild to moderate problems such as mild rashes, swelling, fever, and secondary blisters. The more serious ones are eye infections or loss of vision due to the spread of the vaccine virus to the eye. Others may involve severe rashes on people with eczema; encephalitis, which is severe brain reaction or inflammation; and severe infection on the injection site, which may even cause death in 1-2 per million patients.
- Influenza B – The side effects of the Hemophilus Influenza B vaccine include swelling on the injection site and fever. No serious side effects have been reported.
- Rotavirus – The Rotavirus vaccine can cause neurologic and gastrointestinal diseases related to yellow fever vaccine.
- MMR – It is reported that MMR vaccines may have adverse effects such as blood clotting disorder, encephalopathy, and syncope.
- Tetanus – Side effects for tetanus vaccines are pain, redness and swelling on the injection site, headaches, diarrhea or stomachaches, mild fever, nausea, tiredness, or vomiting. People may even faint, feel dizzy with vision changes or experience ringing of the ears.
- Chicken Pox – The Chicken Pox vaccine may cause itchy rashes, fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, and headaches.
Any reactions you experience must be reported to your physician for proper treatment and to prevent further complications. While there’s been some controversy around certain vaccines about whether to administer them, it’s important to remember the lives of those who were lost when vaccines weren’t created and how far vaccines have come since then. Do you receive vaccines?