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Vaccinations – How vaccines work & Side effects

We know that the vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. You should be aware that there are many anti – vaccine stories which are spread online through the social media. They may not be based on scientific evidence and they can increase the risk of your child for serious illness. It is known that vaccines can protect you and your child from many serious and potentially deadly diseases.

They can protect other people in your community by helping to stop diseases which are spreading to people who cannot have vaccines. Vaccines are tested for safety for years before them being introduced. Also, they are monitored for any side effects. There are some cases when they are causing mild side effects which will not last for long time. Some children may feel a bit unwell and they can have a sore arm for two or three days. Vaccines can help to reduce or even to rid of some diseases, especially if enough people are vaccinated.

What vaccines do not do


You should know that vaccines do not cause autism. There are no studies in which are found a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. You should know that vaccines do not overload or weaken the immune system. It is safe to give children several vaccines at a time and this can reduce the amount of injections they need. Vaccines do not cause allergies or any other conditions. All the current evidences tell us that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating. Vaccines do not have mercury (thiomersal). Vaccines do not contain any ingredients which cause harm in such small amounts, but you should speak with doctor if you have any known allergies, such as eggs or gelatine.

Why vaccines are important

The most important thing which we can do to protect us and our children from illnesses are vaccinations. Vaccines can prevent up to three million deaths all around the world every year. [1] Since vaccines have been introduced in the United Kingdom, diseases like tetanus, polio and smallpox which used to kill or disable millions of people either or seen very rarely. There are some studies in which are said that some diseases, like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced [2]. If people stop having vaccines, it is possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.

How vaccines work

You should know that vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases. It is much safe for your immune system to learn through vaccinations than by catching the diseases and treating them.

When your immune system knows how to fight against diseases, it can protect you for many years. Also, having a vaccine can benefit your whole community through “herd immunity”. If more people are vaccinated, then it is harder for this disease to spread to people who cannot have vaccines, such as people who are ill or people who have a weakened immune system. All vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure that they will not harm you or your children. In many cases, it takes many years for a vaccine to make it through the trials and tests and it needs to pass for approval.

Side effects of vaccination

In most cases, the side effects of vaccines are mild and they do not last long. The most common side effects of vaccinations include:

  • Babies or young children can feel a bit unwell or develop a high temperature (fever) for one or two days [3]
  • The area where the needle goes in looking red, swollen and feeling a bit sore for two to three days  [4]

Also, some children may cry and be upset immediately after the injection. This is normal and they should feel better after a cuddle. It is a rare case to have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccination. If this happens, then it usually happens in a period of few minutes. The person who is vaccinating you or your children is trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately. [5] When you have a prompt treatment, then you or your child will make a good recovery. You should speak with your doctor if you are worried about you or child having a vaccine.


[1] World Health Organization. Immunization. 2019. Retrieved from

[2] World Health Organization. The vaccines success story gives us hope for the future. 2020. Retrieved from

[3] Kohl KS, Marcy M, Blum M, et al. Fever after immunization: Current concepts and improved future scientific understanding. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2004;39(3):389-94.

[4] Miliauskas JR, Mukherjee T, Dixon B. Postimmunization (vaccination) injection-site reactions. A report of four cases and review of the literature. The American Journal of Surgical Pathology. 1993;17(5):516-24.

[5] Sampath V, Rabinowitz G, Shah M, et al. Vaccines and allergic reactions: The past, the current COVID-19 pandemic, and future perspectives. Allergy. 2021;76(6):1640-60. doi:10.1111/all.14840

Ramesh Kumar
Ramesh Kumar
Dr. Ramesh kumar, BAMS is naturopathy doctor who is well versed with health benefits of all fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants


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