• National Immunization Awareness Month

National Immunization Awareness Month is observed every August to raise the importance of routine vaccinations for children, adults, and elders of all ages. During this month, many public health organizations, healthcare professionals, and communities come together to promote vaccines' roles in preventing infections, for safety and public health. By emphasizing the importance of vaccines, National Immunization Awareness Month strives to help communities protect themselves from diseases, disorders and promote a healthier world. 

Are vaccines safe?

Most vaccines are commonly safe because they are put through many months of trials and safety checks before they are approved and released to the public. Every authorized vaccine must be tested and evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and then will be monitored. After monitoring, it is often tested in labs through clinical trials that start with around 50 volunteers depending on the vaccine, this may take several months or even years. After trials are over, each batch that comes out is continued to be tested making sure it is potent, pure, and sterile.  Even after releasing it to the public, many who have received the vaccine are monitored and adjustments are made as needed afterward. 

What are the risks and benefits of vaccines?

Some common risks of a vaccine are mild side effects such as soreness and fever and very low chances of an allergic reaction or serious side effects such as inability to breathe and death. However, the chance of death and major side effects is 2:1 million chance. There are many more benefits such as prevention and protection against many infectious for yourself and your loved ones. Vaccines prevent 2-3 million deaths per year and you can make sure that one of those is your life. 

What are the common side effects of vaccines?

Many side effects are a sign that your body is building immunity to fight against any disease. Some common side effects may include pain and swelling at the injection site, mild fever, chills, and muscle aches.  The risk of a major infection or death is highly unlikely, if 1 million doses of a vaccine are given, there is a chance that only 1-2 people may have a major side effect that includes difficulty breathing, swelling, rashes, or an increased heart rate. If you experience any of the major side effects, please dial 911. 

Why are multiple doses needed for each vaccine?

Receiving multiple doses of a vaccine is often for your own safety to maximize your ability to receive full immunity from the vaccine. Having one dose may not guarantee the full protection as two doses would. Many viruses are constantly changing as well so it is important to stay up to date with new vaccines. 

Should I get the flu vaccine?

It is very important for you and your loved one to get the flu vaccine every year. The flu is a contagious respiratory disease that leads to severe illness, hospitalization, and sometimes even death. With the flu vaccine, you can protect yourself from the flu, decreasing your chances of getting sick and any likelihood of hospitalization. The flu vaccine has also been connected to preventing or lowering the chances of heart disease. Flu viruses are always changing and adapting to humans so it is important to get the flu shot every year so that your body has the right resources to fight any illness. Flu vaccines are offered in many doctors' offices and clinics, pharmacies, and stores such as Target. Make sure to get your vaccine this flu season. 

More information:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam/index.html

https://www.hhs.gov/immunization/basics/safety/side-effects/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/general/strong-defense-against-flu.pdf

About UCR Health

UCR Health is comprised of a team of physicians, specialists and healthcare professionals dedicated to improving people’s health. With five medical offices located throughout Inland Empire and Coachella Valley, UCR Health is growing to meet the healthcare needs of the region, bringing innovative, culturally sensitive medical care to the community. Established alongside the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, UCR Health’s patient-centered primary care and specialty services deliver university-based healthcare excellence and innovation to all communities.