Benefits and Risks of Vaccines

It is said that prevention is better than cure. The best way to follow this is to get vaccinations for preventable diseases. In recent times, harmful chemicals in atmosphere and the ill effects of pesticides in fruits and vegetables have rendered the fear of catching various diseases. For protection against infections and diseases caused by such factors, vaccination is recommended. Vaccines are given as preventive measure to avoid the impact of various viruses. The medicines administered in vaccination works with the immune system of the body to create antibodies and fight against microbes. Vaccines can be administered to children as young as 6 months of age.

About Vaccines

Vaccines are medicines administered in the form of injection or oral medicines as a way to prevent diseases and infection that may have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of children as well as adults. It is recommended to administer vaccination to children as there may be times when they are exposed to disease causing virus in the atmosphere. Vaccination helps to prevent the attack of such viruses by creating antibodies to fight the viruses and increasing its immunity thus preparing the body for any virus – attack. Various diseases have various vaccination shots and must be taken as recommended.

Benefits and Risks of Vaccines

Benefits of Vaccines

While vaccination procedure may be painful for some, there are many benefits of vaccines. Helping to increase the immunity, vaccines have many benefits preventing children as well as adults from serious and sometimes even fatal diseases.

  • Once administered, the vaccines help to immunize the body against the disease it is administered for. It rarely happens that after vaccination, the disease can harm the patient.
  • Vaccines create antibodies to fight disease causing viruses and bacteria with affecting the overall health of the body.
  • Some vaccines have inactive viruses of the disease that fight the active virus, thus destructing them and preventing the adverse effect they could have caused.
  • One of the greatest benefits of Vaccinations is that it has helped to lower the rate of mortality by increasing the immunity of the body.
  • Vaccinations are beneficial in preventing epidemic from spread.
  • Vaccines can be given to children as young as 6 months of age.
  • They are safe for pregnant women as well as the elderly.

Benefits of Vaccines in Preventing Contagious as Well as Non-Contagious Diseases

The benefits of vaccines are that they prevent several contagious as well as non-contagious diseases. It protects the body from viruses that attack the immunity of the body and make it vulnerable for more serious diseases and sometimes even cause death. Reports have shown that vaccines can prevent many infections to a great extent.

Here are a few vaccine preventable diseases:

  • Measles
  • Diphtheria
  • Influenza or the flu
  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Smallpox
  • Rubella
  • Whooping cough
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis E
  • Tetanus
  • Tick borne fever and infections
  • Rotavirus gastroenteritis
  • Yellow Fever
  • Malaria
  • Dengue
  • Cholera

Risks of Vaccines

There have been concerns about the side effects and risks of vaccines due to some preservatives like thimerosal and mercury present in the vaccination medicines. Many wonder about the connection between birth defects and the role of vaccines. With the growing number of autism patients, there have been theories that vaccines may cause autism. Although there have been no proven results for such notions. Due to these reasons giving vaccinations to children, parents may be concerned about the side effects of the injections. Sometimes even adults may fear the ill effects of the injections. While many studies and reports have found no significant side effects of vaccines, there might be a few mild side effects.

Some of the risks of vaccines or their side effects include redness, swelling or soreness where the injection was given.

  • Slight fear in children which usually goes away in a day or two.
  • Body ache or arm ache in adults.

Apart from these, there is extremely rare occurrence of allergic reactions like rashes, itching or difficulty in breathing.

Administration of Vaccines

The administration of vaccines depend on the disease to be prevented. Widely administered as injections, vaccinations can be given as intramuscular injections or subcutaneous injections. For certain diseases, the vaccines are administered as drops or oral medicines, especially to small children. Before the administration of a vaccine, the patient is checked for any allergies, bleeding disorders, pregnancy, reactions to past vaccinations and neurological conditions in the patient, if any. These are necessary to make sure the right medicine and the correct dosage of the vaccine is given. While injecting the vaccines, it is made sure that the needles and syringes are either brand new or sterilized properly to avoid spreading of the viruses. After administration, the needles, syringes as well as the vials of the medicines are disposed off to avoid reuse.

Types of Vaccines

For different diseases different types of vaccines are designed. The composition of the vaccine may depend on the virus it is being used to treat. Following are a few types of vaccines used by doctors:

  • Live, Attenuated Vaccines: Live microbes weakened by lab procedures to cannot cause diseases, which is the closest option to the actual active viruses causing the infection or disease.
  • Inactivated Vaccines: For a more stable option for live viruses, inactive or viruses killed with lab procedures are administered to work similar to live vaccines.
  • Subunit Vaccines: Specific antigens administered to bind with antibodies.
  • Toxoid Vaccines: Inactivated toxins to fight toxin secreting bacteria.
  • Conjugate Vaccines: A combination of antigens and toxoids to treat immature immune systems of children.


Vaccinations are extremely helpful to increase the immunity of the body to fight disease and infection causing viruses. They are a safe and definite way to prevent the outbreak of diseases. Vaccines are being administered since a long time and hence the result can be seen in the low and reduced number of disease among children and adults. There are great benefits of vaccines that help prevent various health conditions like small infections to serious and fatal diseases.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2018

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