General Vaccine Information
WHAT IS A VACCINE?
A vaccine is a weakened preparation of a disease causing microorganism such as a virus or bacteria. It can be part of the organism or simply a protein from that organism. This causes an immunoreaction when injected into the human body. The human immune system develops a protection shield in producing antibodies. This way the body is prepared to fight if infected by the real organism.
DO CHILDREN HAVE TO BE IMMUNIZED?
By Federal law the vaccination is a recommendation and not mandatory for a child.
WHY VACCINATE YOUR CHILD?
Through vaccination the human body is prepared to fight a real infection. With the introduction of vaccination the mortality and morbidity of childhood disease have been dramatically decreased over the last century. Some disease such as chickenpox has been extinguished. Currently there are efforts on the way to find a vaccination against HIV and Malaria that kill millions of people worldwide.
Pregnant women benefit from childhood vaccination because they are protected against certain infections, which can cause severe health damage or even death to their unborn child if they have the infection while pregnant such as in case of Rubella infection.
Vaccination can prevent the development of cervical cancer in women.
HOW ARE VACCINES PRODUCED?
Vaccines are produced by pharmaceutical companies and distributed worldwide. Vaccines are like any other medicine and can cause side effects.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Mostly these are mild local reactions such as tenderness, redness or swelling where the shot is given or mild fever. They appear soon after the shot and disappear within 1 – 2 days. One out of 4 children can develop these reactions.
Serious reactions are severe allergic reactions to a substance in a vaccine. These reactions happen less than once in a million and usually happen very soon after the shot is given.
The risk of serious harm by the vaccine is much smaller than getting a disease that the child is not vaccinated against.
WHICH CHILDREN SHOULD NOT GET A VACCINE?
If your child is sick on the day of vaccination. But a mild low grade fever is not a contraindication.
If your child had any reaction to a previous DTaP:
- A brain nervous system disease within 7 days
- Non-stop crying for 3 or more hours
- Seizures or collapse
- Fever > 105 F/40,5 C
If your child has a life-threatening allergy to the antibiotics neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxim B.
If your child has a life treating allergy to yeast or soon after the vaccination.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WITH A MODERATE OR SEVERE REACTION AFTHER VACCINATION?
Look for unusual conditions such as allergic reaction, high fever, weakness or unusual behavior. Serious reactions are very rare. Most happen within minutes after the injections.
- Difficulty breathing
- Hoarseness or wheezing
- Swelling of the throat
- Fast heart beat
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT A SERIOUS REACTION?
Bring your child to a doctor or a hospital or call the ambulance.