Brought to you by Sanofi Pasteur

Brought to you by

Vaccines are among the most rigorously tested medicinal products available1

HOW MUCH ARE VACCINES TESTED BEFORE THEY ARE USED?

Back to top
It can take up to 15 years to develop and thoroughly test a new vaccine before it is licensed and made available to the public1,2

 

  • Vaccines are among the most rigorously tested medicinal products available.2,3,4,5
  • The safety of every vaccine is continually monitored after it’s been introduced.1,4,6
  • Up to 70% of production time for vaccines is devoted to quality control, and it can take up to 24 months to manufacture a vaccine.They can often be tested three times more than other medicines.1

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• World Health Organization http://www.who.int/campaigns/immunization-week/2018/en/ [cited 2020 Nov5].
• National Institute for Communicable Diseases https://www.nicd.ac.za/faq/vaccination-information-for-parentscaregivers/ [cited 2020 Nov 5].

WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER A VACCINE?

Back to top
Vaccines are among the most rigorously tested medicinal products available1

 

 

  • As with all medicines, there is a possibility of a reaction after vaccination.2
    However, these side effects are usually minor and most often include soreness at the injection site or a low fever.2,3,4
  • Usually they will pass in a few days.2,4 But if you have any concerns about a reaction, trust your instincts and contact your HCP (clinic sister, doctor)
  • Serious side effects are rare.4,5 Indeed, the risk of experiencing a severe allergic reaction from a vaccine is so small that you are more likely to be struck by lightning! 5

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• World Health Organization
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/vaccines-and-immunization-what-is-vaccination [cited 2020 Nov 5].
• ImmYounity
http://www.vaccines.com/vaccine-allergic-reaction-odds.cfm [cited 2020 Nov 5].

WHAT’S ACTUALLY IN A VACCINE?

Back to top
Vaccines contain 3 main ingredients – antigens, additives and residues1

 

 

  • Antigens are the active ingredient in the vaccine – they teach your body to recognize a particular virus or bacteria so that it’s ready to fight it off in the future if you’re exposed to it.1,2
  • Additives are materials used to boost your body’s immune response to a vaccine, keep it stable in extreme temperatures or prevent contamination of the vaccine
    by bacteria.3
  • Residues are small amounts of substances that remain in the vaccine after it’s been manufactured – in such miniscule amounts, these residues are harmless and most are already present in our bodies.1,3,4

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• Vaccines.gov https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/vaccine_ingredients [cited 2020 Nov 5]

WHY SHOULD I GET VACCINATED IF THE DISEASES AREN’T AROUND ANYMORE?

Back to top
Serious vaccine-preventable diseases may be less visible, but they are still out there1

 

 

  • The success of vaccines means that many of the diseases they prevent are rarely seen.1 However, with the exception of smallpox, none of these diseases have disappeared.2,3,4
  • Even when diseases have been practically eliminated in a country (e.g. polio, diphtheria), they may be only a plane ride away.1,2,5,6,7,8,9,10
  • Just as we don’t wait for a fire to fit smoke alarms, we shouldn’t wait for a disease outbreak to protect ourselves and our families with vaccination.2,8,10,11

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you
might have about vaccines available in your country. Visit the links below for further information.
• HealthMap. See what diseases are near you http://www.healthmap.org/ [cited 2020 Nov 5].
• Which diseases does vaccination protect me from? https://vaccinateyourfamily.org/vaccines-diseases/ [cited 2020 Nov 5]

AREN’T BABIES TOO YOUNG FOR LOTS OF VACCINATIONS?

Back to top
From birth babies are exposed to germs everywhere, so vaccines are just a small part of the challenges their immune systems can respond to1,2,3,4,5,6

 

 

  • The timing of vaccine doses has been carefully chosen based on years of research to help protect babies as soon as possible.4,7,8,9,10,11
  • Delaying or missing vaccinations means that babies are unprotected for longer than they need to be, often at the time when they are most at risk of illness and serious complications from diseases.3,11,12
  • From birth babies are exposed to germs everywhere – even a mother’s kiss (each milliliter of saliva contains approximately 100 million bacteria) – so their immune systems can easily handle the small number of antigens in vaccines.3,5,12,13,14

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• Vaccinate your baby – https://vaccinateyourfamily.org/which-vaccine-does-my-family-need/babies-children/ [cited 2020 Nov 5].
• Road to Health – http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/shortcodes/.2015-03-29-10-42-47/2015-04-30-08-29-27/2015
-04-30-08-33-30/category/545-immunisation-survey?download=3388:road-to-health-booklet. [cited 2020 Nov 5].
• Centres for Disease Control & Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/protecting-children/index.html [cited 2020 Nov 5

IS NATURAL IMMUNITY FROM CATCHING A DISEASE BETTER THAN VACCINATION?

Back to top
Vaccines enhance your body’s natural defenses, without causing illness1,2,3,4

 

 

  • You can get immunity from an infection or from vaccination.1,5
  • Infection with the actual disease will make you sick, and sometimes severely ill.1
    For example, up to 1 in 5 unvaccinated people infected with measles may be hospitalised, and 1 child in 1000 will develop encephalitis.6
  • Vaccines imitate an infection without causing illness. Sometimes, after vaccination the imitated infection can cause minor symptoms like fever.3

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• Immunize for good
http://www.immunizeforgood.com/fact-or-fiction/natural-immunity [cited 2020 Nov 5].
• Centers for Disease Control. Understanding how vaccines work
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-understand-color-office.pdf [cited 2020 Nov 5].

WHY VACCINATE IF I’M HEALTHY?

Back to top
Even healthy people can catch contagious diseases, get sick and transmit the disease to others1,2

 

 

  • Healthy people can catch the serious diseases that vaccines prevent.3 And, even when they do not have serious symptoms, they can spread the disease to their loved ones and others who are more vulnerable like babies, the elderly, or people with a weakened immune system.1,2,3,4,5
  • Healthy foods, good sleep and exercise can benefit your immune system – but they can’t give you the specific protective immunity that vaccines do.1,6,7
  • Hand washing and cough etiquette can help limit the spread of diseases, but this is not enough with many vaccine-preventable diseases which are highly contagious.5 Did you know that, in particular conditions, one person infected with influenza on a plane could contaminate up to 70% of the other passengers?8

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• Immunize for good – http://www.immunizeforgood.com/fact-or-fiction/natural-immunity [cited 2020 Nov 5].
• See a video on how you can protect yourself and your entourage by vaccination
http://vaccinestoday.wpengine.com/stories/what-is-herd-immunity/ [cited 2020 Nov 5].
 

CAN VACCINES CAUSE THE DISEASES THEY PROTECT AGAINST?

Back to top
Vaccines only offer protection from disease – they can’t cause the disease themselves1,2,3,4,6

 

 

  • Vaccines contain substances called antigens.§ These have a similar shape to an active virus or bacteria, but without causing illness.1,2,3,5,6
  • Because these antigens stimulate your immune system, you can sometimes have reactions that appear similar to the symptoms of a disease, like mild fever or even muscle aches (with the flu vaccine for example). But these reactions do not mean you have caught the disease.5,7,8,9,10
  • Some people believe that vaccines can cause unrelated diseases that usually appear around the same time that we give children vaccines. But this may be just coincidence.3,11
    – For example, if children who receive a teddy bear and children who receive a vaccine both have their teeth fall out, it doesn’t mean that either receiving a teddy bear or receiving a vaccine caused this to happen – it’s just a coincidence.

§Antigens can include a dead or weakened virus or bacteria, part(s) of a virus or bacteria, or a deactivated toxin produced by the bacteria.2,8
Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• Immunize Colorado. How vaccines work http://www.immunizeforgood.com/vaccines/how-vaccines-work [cited 2020 Nov 5].
• CDC. What is in vaccines? – https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm [cited 2020 Nov 5].

AUTISM: WHAT DO WE KNOW?

Back to top
We still don’t know exactly what causes autism, but numerous studies suggest that it is not caused by vaccines1,2

 

 

  • The symptoms of autism often start to appear in the first few years of life, and include difficulties with behavior and communication.1
  • The largest study of over half a million Danish children found that unvaccinated children were just as likely to develop autism as vaccinated children.3
  • This concern began with a study led by an English doctor which was retracted because he was found to have lied about the findings. He subsequently lost his medical license for acting dishonestly, unethically, and with “callous regard” for the children.4,5

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• To see summaries of some of these studies and other studies related to vaccine safety concerns, visit:https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-safety-references [cited 2020 Nov 4].
• What about autism? Australian Government Department of Health
https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/10/vaccination-and-autism-fact-sheet.pdf [cited 2020 Nov 4]

IS MY BABY AT RISK OF CATCHING HEPATITIS B?

Back to top
Yes – hepatitis B is easily transmitted and many people don’t even know they are infected1,2,3,4

 

 

  • Since many people who are infected with hepatitis B do not feel sick or show symptoms of the disease, they can unknowingly pass the virus on via unseen amounts of blood or even saliva on a toothbrush or washcloth.2,4,5
  • Newborns are very vulnerable to hepatitis B. If they become infected, there is about a 90% chance of it developing into a life-long infection and about 1 in 4 may die.1,4
  • Over time, approximately 15–25% of chronically infected people develop serious liver problems, including cirrhosis, liver failure and even liver cancer.2

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• National Institute for Communicable Diseases
https://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/hepatitis-b/ [cited 2020 Nov 5]
• Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-details/vaccine-hepatitis-b-vaccine [cited 2020 Nov 5]
• Every child by two https://vaccinateyourfamily.org/vaccines-diseases/?acc=Hepatitis%20B [cited 2020 Nov 5

DO SOME VACCINES CONTAIN MERCURY?

Back to top
A few vaccines contain thiomersal* to prevent contamination of the vaccine by bacteria1

 

 

  • Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in our air, soil and water.2
  • The vaccines containing tiny amounts of thiomersal are rigorously tested for safety and efficacy before they are approved and licensed.1,2,3
  • The tiny amount of mercury found in a vaccine is less than in a tuna sandwich.4

*Thiomersal is a mercury-based preservative added to some vaccines1
 
Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/thiomersal/Jun_2012/en/ [cited 2020 Nov 5]
• Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/thimerosal [cited 2020 Nov 5]

WHY DO SOME VACCINES CONTAIN ALUMINIUM?

Back to top
Adjuvants with aluminum strengthen the immune response to some vaccines1,2,3

 

 

  • Aluminum is one of the most common metals in nature, and is in our soil, air, water and plants. We are exposed to it every day, even in our food!2,3,4
  • Some vaccines contain an adjuvant with aluminum so that the immune response is stronger and lasts longer.1
  • Did you know, during the first 6 months of life, babies receive more aluminum from breast milk or infant formula than from any vaccine?2

Want to know more?
Your healthcare professional is the best person to answer any questions you might have about vaccines available in your country.
Visit the links below for further information.
• World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/thiomersal/Jun_2012/en/ [cited 2020 Nov 5]
• Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/thimerosal [cited 2020 Nov 5]



1. NEW YORK STATE Department of Health [Internet]. Albany (NY): New York State Department of Health; [revised 2020 Oct]. The science behind
vaccine research and testing: how vaccines are made and tested; [revised 2014 Jul; cited 2020 Nov 7]; [about 2 p.]. Available from: https://www.health.ny.gov/
prevention/immunization/vaccine_safety/science.htm 2. Vaccinate Your Family [Internet]. Washington, DC: Vaccinate your family; [updated 2020 Apr 21].
Vaccine safety; [updated 2020 Jun 19; cited 2020 Oct 29]; [about 8 p.]. Available from: https://www.vaccinateyourfamily.org/vaccine-safety/ 3. Gomez PL,
Robinson JM. Vaccine manufacturing. In: Plotkin S, Orenstein W, Offit P, Edwards KM, editors. Plotkin’s Vaccines [Internet]. [place unknown]: Elsevier; 2017
[cited 2020 October 28]. Chapter 5. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152262/pdf/main.pdf DOI:10.1016/B978-0-323-35761-
6.00005-5 4. Vaccine Knowledge Project: Authoritative Information for All [Internet]. Oxford (England): Oxford Vaccine Group; c2020. How vaccines are
tested, licensed and monitored; [updated 2018 Oct 29; cited 2020 Oct 29]; [about 5 p.]. Available from: http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/vaccine-development.
5. Department of Health. Vaccinator’s manual: immunisation that works [Internet]. 4th ed. Pretoria (South Africa): The National Department of Health. c2015
[cited 2020 Nov 7] 171 p. Available from: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/departments/health/vaccinators_manual_2016.pdf 6. Martinon-Torres
F, Rivero Calle I. Vaccine safety and false contradindications to vaccination: training manual [Internet]. Copenhagen (Denmark): World Health Organization
Regional Office for Europe; c2017. 112 p. Available from: https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/351927/WHO-Vaccine-Manual.pdf
7. International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations. Maintaining the vaccines innovation edge [image on Internet]. Switzerland:
Ifpma.org; 2015 Jan 23 [cited 2020 Aug 4]. Available from: https://www.ifpma.org/resource-centre/maintaining-the-vaccines-innovation-edge/ 8. Vaccines.
gov: your best shot at good health [Internet]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Who and when; [reviewed 2020 Mar; cited 2020
Oct 28]; [about 6 p.]. Available from: https://www.vaccines.gov/who_and_when
Initiative supported by Sanofi Pasteur.
*Vaccination helps protect health at every stage of life8
References: 1. Gomez PL, Robinson JM. Vaccine manufacturing. In: Plotkin S, Orenstein W, Offit P, Edwards KM, editors. Plotkin’s Vaccines [Internet].
[place unknown]: Elsevier; 2017 [cited 2020 October 28]. Chapter 5. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152262/pdf/main.
pdf DOI:10.1016/B978-0-323-35761-6.00005-5 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccines & Immunizations [Internet]. Atlanta: Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (US); [reviewed 2016 May 26]; Possible side effects from vaccines; [reviewed 2020 Apr 2; cited 2020 Aug 4]; [about 2 p.].
Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm 3. NEW YORK STATE Department of Health [Internet]. Albany (NY): New York
State Department of Health; [revised 2020 Oct]. Common vaccine misperceptions and concerns explained; [revised 2012 Jan; cited 2020 Nov 2]; [about
2 p.]. Available from: https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/immunization/vaccine_safety/misperceptions.htm 4. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention: Vaccines for Your Children [Internet]. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); [reviewed 2019 Mar 18]. Making the vaccine
decision: addressing common concerns; [reviewed 2019 Aug 5; cited 2020 Nov 2]; [about 5 p.]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/
why-vaccinate/vaccine-decision.html 5. Healthline [Internet]. [place unknown]: Healthline Media; c2005-2020. You’re more likely to be hit by lightning than
to have severe vaccine allergy; [2019 Apr 9; cited 2020 Aug 11]; [about 13 p.]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/youre-probably-notallergic-to-vaccines 6. Vaccines.gov: your best shot at good health [Internet]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Who and
when; [reviewed 2020 Mar; cited 2020 Oct 28]; [about 6 p.]. Available from: https://www.vaccines.gov/who_and_when
 

  1. Martinon-Torres F, Rivero Calle I. Vaccine safety and false contradindications to vaccination: training manual [Internet]. Copenhagen (Denmark):
    World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe; c2017. 112 p. Available from: https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/351927/WHOVaccine-Manual.pdf
  2. Department of Health. Facts about immunisation: EPI (SA) fact sheet [Internet]. Pretoria (South Africa): Youedition. c2020 [cited
    2020 Nov 7]; [about 3 p.]. Available from: http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/component/phocadownload/category/165
  3. THE HISTORY OF VACCINES: AN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE BY THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF PHILADELPHIA [Internet]. Philadelphia: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; c2020. Top 20 questions about vaccination (updated 2018 Jan 25; cited 2020 Nov 2); [about 17 p.]. Available from: https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/ top-20-questions-about-vaccination
  4. Andre FE, Booy R, Bock HL, et al. Vaccination greatly reduces disease, disability, death and inequity worldwide. Bulletin of the World Health Organization [Internet]. 2008 Feb [cited 2020 Nov 2];86(2):140-146. Available from: https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/2/07-040089.
    pdf?ua=1 DOI: 10.2471/BLT.07.040089
  5. Smith M. Vaccine safety: medical contraindications, myths, and risk communication. Pediatrics in Review [Internet].
    2015 Jun [cited 2020 Aug 6];36(6):227-238
  6. THE HISTORY OF VACCINES: AN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE BY THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF PHILADELPHIA [Internet]. Philadelphia: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; c2020. Misconceptions about vaccines (updated 2018 Jan 25; cited 2020 Nov 2); [about 17 p.]. Available from: https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/misconceptions-about-vaccines
  7. Department of Health. Vaccinator’s Manual: Immunisation That Works [Internet]. 4th ed. Pretoria (South Africa): The National Department of Health. c2015 [cited 2020 Nov 7]; 171 p. Available from: https:// www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/departments/health/vaccinators_manual_2016.pdf
  8. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (Switzerland: WHO; c2020. Six common misconceptions about immunization [cited 2020 Nov 2]; [about 3 p.]. Available from: https://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/initiative/detection/immunization_misconceptions/en/index5.html
  9. National Institute for Communicable Diseases: Centre for Vaccines and Immunology. Vaccine information for parents and caregivers [Internet]. 1st ed. Johannesburg (South Africa): Ideas Wise and Wonderful. 2016 Nov [cited 2020 Nov 2]; 48 p. Available from: https://www.
    nicd.ac.za/faq/vaccination-information-for-parentscaregivers/
  10. Vaccine Knowledge Project: Authoritative Information for All [Internet]. Oxford (England): Oxford Vaccine Group; c2020. FAQs about vaccines; [updated 2019 Jan 17; cited 2020 Nov 3]; [about 18 p.]. Available from: http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/faqs-aboutvaccines 
  11. Department of Health. Immunisation key messages [Internet]. Pretoria (South Africa): Youedition. c2020 [cited 2020 Nov 7]; [about 1 p.]. Available from: http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/component/phocadownload/category/165
  12. Vaccines.gov: your best shot at good health [Internet]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Who and when; [reviewed 2020 Mar; cited 2020 Oct 28]; [about 6 p.]. Available from: https://www.vaccines.gov/who_and_when
    Initiative supported by Sanofi Pasteur.

MAT-ZA-2000381 – 1.0 – 08/2020

For more health information

Click on the body area you want to know more about. Select a related health topic from the menu

Select a body area
Head
Chest
Abdomen
Pelvis
Legs
Feet
Mental Health
Skin
General
Infant Health
HIV 11 – HIV and Opportunistic infections
HIV 11 – HIV and Opportunistic infections
Doctors were first alerted to the existence of AIDS when patients clinically presented with opportunistic ....
Acne (Pimples)
Acne (Pimples)
What is acne? Acne is a common skin condition that causes pimples on the face, neck, shoulders, chest and back.1a It can be emotionally stressful ....