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National Immunization Awareness Month: Vaccine Basics

Immunization Awareness and Vaccine Basics

Thanks to a vaccine, one of the most terrible diseases in history—smallpox—no longer exists outside the laboratory. Over the years vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The experienced physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) want to share some vaccine basics with you, so you can better understand why they’re so important.

Why are vaccines so important?

Vaccines create immunity toward certain diseases. Immunity is the body’s way of preventing disease.

The first time a person is infected with a specific antigen (e.g., the measles virus), the immune system creates antibodies to fight it. A vaccine, typically administered as a shot, is made from very small amounts of weakened or dead antigens. They help prepare your immune system so it can fight the disease faster and more effectively. When you’re vaccinated you won’t get sick if you’re exposed to the disease.

In the last few years some parents have refused or delayed vaccinating out of fear or misinformation about its safety. As a result, there are more unvaccinated children, adolescents and adults in our communities.

Choosing to not vaccinate your children not only leaves them susceptible to disease, but also puts at risk other children who are too young or sick to be vaccinated.

Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are one of the safest medical treatments available proven to prevent disease. They can also help you avoid high medical costs associated with treating infectious diseases. As with any medical treatment there are risks, but they are significantly less than those associated with the diseases themselves. Once you’re vaccinated, you may experience one or more of the following mild side effects for a few days (serious side effects are extremely rare):

  • Mild fever
  • Pain, swelling or redness at injection site
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and other preventative health care measures, call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-536-1493.

Routine vaccinations can also be administered during routine well-woman care visits. Contact PVHC to schedule an appointment with a skilledOB/GYN in Chino Hills, Pomona, Claremont, and La Verne.