Vaccines: Giving Your Body What It Needs to Do Battle

February 29, 2020 0 Comments

You know your doctor says you need them. You know some school district requires them. But, what do you actually know about vaccines?

Many people get nervous about the idea of getting a shot. While others are concerned about what’s in the shot and how it may affect them or their loved ones.

So, the best way to overcome these fears is to arm yourself with knowledge and work with a trusted healthcare provider. We’re here to fill both roles!

Let’s start with knowledge. So, read on to get a better understanding of what vaccines are and how they work.

What Is a Vaccine?

To understand what a vaccine is, we must start by talking about the immune system. The body’s immune system usually keeps harmful microorganisms at bay or tracks them down and gets rid of them. However, sometimes pathogens overwhelm the immune system and cause illness.

Sometimes, the body doesn’t recognize a pathogen, so it doesn’t know it needs to get rid of it or attack it. That’s where vaccines come in.

Vaccines are used to teach the immune system how to recognize and eliminate an organism. That way, if you’re ever exposed to that pathogen, the body is ready and prepared for battle.

In this way, vaccinations are essential in preventing people from getting sick. Vaccines don’t just protect the individuals who receive them, and they can protect society as a whole.

If enough people are vaccinated, then we can control specific diseases and outbreaks. The following diseases are near unheard of in modern America because of vaccines, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates immunization prevents between 2 to 3 million deaths each year.

  • Measles
  • Polio
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough

How Do Vaccines Work?

Let’s go back to the immune system. A healthy immune system is composed of several types of cells that defend against and remove harmful pathogens.

As we stated earlier, if the body doesn’t recognize a pathogen as dangerous, then the immune system won’t kick into action.

Vaccines teach the body to recognize new diseases by stimulating the body to make antibodies against antigens of pathogens.

It also teaches immune cells to remember infection-causing antigens, which allows for a quicker response to the disease if it comes into contact with it again in the future.

Vaccines are highly recommended for women before and during pregnancy because the vaccine not only protects the mother but their unborn child.

What’s in a Vaccine?

Vaccines are made up of a safe version of a disease which can take the form of a:

  • Sugar or protein from the makeup of a pathogen
  • Toxoid containing toxin made by a pathogen
  • Dead or an inactivated form of a pathogen
  • Weakened pathogen

Most vaccines contain two parts, an antigen, and an adjuvant.


The antigen is the portion of the disease your body must learn to recognize.


The adjuvant sends your body a danger signal that influences your immune response to react to the antigen as an infection. This helps you develop immunity.

Additional Ingredients

Vaccines also contain other ingredients like aluminum salts, antibiotics, and formaldehyde to keep vaccines safe and effective. These additional ingredients have not been associated with disease or illness.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Vaccines are rigorously tested and go through years of study, examination, and research before they’re offered to the general public. And, as you may already have experienced, vaccinations are usually given by injection.

Do Vaccines Have Side Effects?

Side effects from a vaccine injection are rare and typically mild. Depending on the vaccine, side effects may include:

Risk factors that increase your risk of experiencing side effects from vaccination include:

  • Being sick at the time you receive a vaccine
  • Having a weak or suppressed immune system
  • Having a family or personal history of vaccine reactions

What Vaccines Do We Need?

You may be under the impression that only children get vaccines. However, people may receive injections or boosters throughout their entire lifetime. So, here’s a list of vaccines and booster by age range.

Infancy and Early Childhood

By the time a child starts elementary school, they should have received:

Middle Childhood

Doctors typically recommend these vaccines for children in middle childhood:

Young Adult

Doctors generally recommended these vaccinations for young adults:


Lastly, adults should receive:

Additionally, there are a variety of other vaccines your doctor may recommend based on your:

  • Medical history
  • Sexual orientation
  • Personal hobbies
  • And other factors

Lastly, these include:

  • Meningococcal serogroup B vaccine
  • Meningococcal conjugate.
  • Yellow fever vaccine.
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccines before international travel.
  • MMR vaccine

How Much Do Vaccines Cost?

Many health insurance plans cover vaccinations at little or no cost to you. And low- and no-cost alternatives are available for those who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover vaccines.

So, to get a good idea of the out of pocket costs of vaccines, check out this list provided by the CDC.

So, give us a call if you have any questions about the safety or efficacy of vaccines. We will be glad to take the time to answer your questions or quell any concerns.

Therefore, if you need help figuring out what vaccines you or your child needs, call us for a consultation. Lastly, not only will we make recommendations, but we can administer vaccines on the spot!


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Vaccines: Giving Your Body What It Needs to Do Battle
If you have any questions about the safety or efficacy of vaccines, give us a call—one of our One Life Medical team members will be glad to take the time to answer your questions or quell any concerns.

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