Vaccine 101 for Immunization Awareness
No one really enjoys getting a shot or immunization. The thought of a stranger putting a needle through your skin can be unsettling for some, but it’s nothing compared to the despair and even death people have suffered before vaccines existed. Today, we recognize the importance of vaccines in our modern world. Vaccines are one of the strongest tools we have to prevent the spread of disease, and have done so for decades. Diseases like polio, which causes paralysis by invading the spinal cord and brain, have been eliminated because of vaccines. See why vaccines are such important investments in our health and wellness, and how you can make them available in your workplace.
History of Vaccines
Vaccine science has come a long way since 1796 when Dr. Edward Jenner introduced the first successful vaccine. He realized that milkmaid’s didn’t catch smallpox after they’d already caught cowpox, so he took pieces of cowpox pustule (the animal version of smallpox) from a milkmaid’s arm and scratched it into a young boy’s arm. Smallpox was one of the deadliest diseases of its time, but Jenner’s early development led to eradication efforts that saw 80% vaccine coverage in every country.
Another 85 and 90 years later, a French biologist, Louis Pasteur, developed vaccines against anthrax and rabies, respectively. By 1977, another 8 more vaccines had been developed. More importantly, by this time the smallpox disease was considered eradicated thanks to the vaccine’s success.
Immunization facts show how vaccines impact public health, yet in recent years, vaccine coverage has declined. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 25 million children under the age of 1 year did not receive basic vaccines. That’s the highest number since 2009.
Why You Should Get Vaccinated
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that immunization (another term for how someone becomes vaccinated) currently prevents 3.5-5 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles. Not to mention how millions of people are alive today because of the Covid-19 vaccines.
Vaccines protect us and those around us by prompting an immune response against a specific disease. Once you have the vaccine and have immunity, you can be exposed without becoming infected. In the off chance that you do get infected, vaccines help reduce the severity of symptoms.
Vaccines Offered by DHS
DHS can deliver a wide range of vaccines to your staff directly on-site at your facility:
- Hepatitis A, B, B Titer
- Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) 1 Booster (9yr-65yr)
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
- MMR & Varicella Titer
- Tuberculosis Screening (Skin Test)
- TB Quantiferon (Blood Draw)
We also offer immune-system-boosting vitamin B-12 plus vitamin C injections for employees who prefer more natural options over the seasonal flu shot or Covid-19 vaccine. Having this option available shows respect for all employees and makes clinics more inclusive.
Types of Vaccines
Vaccines work to create an immune response in a few different ways. The first vaccine was made for smallpox using what’s called a live, attenuated virus (a weak version of the virus that doesn’t create illness in the recipient but does prompt that immune response). Some vaccines still use live, attenuated virus, but they’ve also evolved into new formats to trigger the immune response in different ways:
- Inactivated Vaccines: the killed version of the germ that causes a disease (examples: Hepatitis A, Flu, Polio, Rabies)
- Messenger RNA (mRNA) Vaccines: ribonucleic acid teaches our cells to make a protein that fights the disease (example: Covid-19)
- Subunit Vaccines: pieces of the virus (examples: Hepatitis B, HPV, Whooping Cough, Pneumococcal Disease, Meningococcal Disease, Shingles)
- Toxoid Vaccines: a toxin from the disease-causing germ (examples: Diphtheria, Tetanus)
- Viral Vector Vaccines: a modified version of a another virus as a vector (examples vary)
1. What’s in vaccines?
Vaccines are made up of various ingredients – each of which serve important purposes – that make them as effective as possible, as well as safe. Read what the CDC says about ingredients here.
2. Are vaccines safe?
Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for making sure vaccines are safe and effective. You can reference the FDA’s complete list of approved vaccines for specifics on each.
3. What are common risks/benefits of getting vaccinated?
Vaccines imitate an infection but don’t give you the disease itself, nor do they cause autism. There are risks for anyone with egg or gelatine allergies, so talk to your doctor first because you may experience more severe side effects.The biggest benefit is reducing the spread of disease as getting a vaccine protects both the individual receiving it and those around them who are unable to get one.
4. What are common side effects of vaccines?
Redness and pain/swelling at the site of the shot are the most common side effects of vaccines. They can also cause a fever or other minor symptoms (chills, headache, muscle ache, etc.) that are normal when your body is building immunity.
5. When should you get vaccinated?
Some vaccines are recommended annually, and others have specific age requirements or booster schedules. For example, pediatricians give a variety of vaccines to babies as they grow, and each has a unique schedule. Other vaccines, like the one for shingles, is recommended for adults 50 and older. Talk to your doctor about what makes sense for you and/or your children.
Book Vaccinations with DHS
DHS provides on-site vaccine clinics and other tailored services for corporate clients and organizations of all sizes. As we approach flu season, these convenient events save your staff time while also boosting their immunity. Contact our team to learn more about our full-scale coordination of all the details for clients with multiple offices and locations.