Understanding the Risks Associated With Unnecessary Vaccine Revaccinations
When a person becomes sick with any type of disease, they often have to take an oral vaccine. Often these vaccines are called “swine flu” or a “tuberculosis” vaccine. Sometimes people get a regular routine shot or a booster shot as well, but the flu and tuberculosis shots are given at different times than regular shots are. The flu and tubercle vaccine are most commonly recommended for young children.
A vaccine is a chemical preparation that gives a person protective, immune system-boosting potential against a specific virus. A vaccine usually contains antigens, a virulent agent that resembles an illness-causing virus and is frequently produced by weakened or destroyed strains of that virus, its proteins, or one of its immune-system proteins. The viruses and their proteins are introduced into the immune systems through the blood stream where they are then given to the target organisms. Vaccines help to stimulate the target organism’s immune systems to fight the disease that is introduced into the body.
There are some diseases and some types of infections that cannot be prevented by the use of vaccines. These include certain diseases caused by parasites, such as the West Nile Virus; diseases caused by bacteria, such as rabies and hepatitis; and diseases of undetermined etiology, which include the Salk virus, distemper, and HIV. Additionally, vaccines are sometimes required in the treatment of severe childhood diseases, such as pertussis, measles, and chicken pox. Even in cases where vaccines are not required, herd immunity against specific diseases can still occur by preventing disease within the group of persons who will receive the vaccine.
Some viruses and bacteria pose little or no threat to healthy adults, but can cause serious problems when exposed to them. These include agents like botulism, toxoplasmosis, e-coli, hepatitis A, and cytomegalovirus. Babies and children who receive these vaccines are at increased risk of developing severe illness if they are infected with these bacteria or viruses. Some of these bacteria and viruses can also cause serious health problems in immunocompromised persons.
The majority of vaccines are given either before the child enters kindergarten or first grade, although there are a few that are available for use later in life. Most parents prefer to have their child receive their first dose of immunization when they enter kindergarten. However, many children continue to receive their immunizations through first grade. For some parents, their child may have received the required number of doses while in the womb. Others may be able to wait to receive the first dose until after their first birthday. Regardless of the age of your child, you should visit your local physician to ensure that he or she is getting the immunizations as required.
Some vaccines to prevent the disease rather than causing it. These vaccines include measles, rubella, and varicella vaccines. Hepatitis B vaccine is also available for persons who might have already acquired the disease, and women can be vaccinated during their menstrual periods. For more information on diseases that can be prevented by vaccines, and for information on current recommended vaccines and schedule, you can visit the website of the Immunization Practices Division of the CDC.