Frequently Asked Questions

Can vaccines make me sick?

Most vaccines are inactivated vaccines. This means that the vaccine itself does not have the ability to cause the disease. Even vaccines that contain live viruses, are weakened so they cannot cause disease. The benefits of receiving a vaccine usually outweigh the risks of getting disease. Please do not let fear be the reason you don't receive a vaccination.

Will my immune system become overloaded (or have a bad reaction) if I get more than ONE vaccine at the same time?

It is possible to get more than one vaccine at the same time, for example the flu vaccine and the pneumonia or shingles vaccine. We usually recommend a separate injection site instead of getting both injections in the same arm to prevent soreness in your arm/area of injection. There are some vaccines however, that cannot be given together and you may be asked to wait a certain amount of time before getting the second vaccine.

Your immune system can handle thousands of viruses and bacteria in a day. This applies to vaccines too! Vaccines contain a very small number of antigens which help your immune system recognize foreign particles and help build protection against diseases.

Do vaccines have bad side effects?

The common side effects of most vaccines are pain/swelling at the injection site, soreness of the arm and sometimes fatigue. Side effects can vary depending on the vaccine itself. Most people react well to vaccines and are able to tolerate the side effects. However, if you are allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine or in rare cases, you may have a bad reaction. Usually, you are asked to wait for 15 minutes after any vaccination so your healthcare provider can watch for any unusual reactions.

Are vaccines painful? I am scared to get them.

Usually, vaccines are given through an injection at the upper arm muscle. Initially, you may feel a small needle prick follow by a slight pressure (the injection of the vaccine solution). This sensation is quick and short term. Your arm may feel a little painful or sore for a day or two, but is usually mild and goes away without treatment. You can use some Tylenol or Advil to help with the pain, but make sure to check with your healthcare provider if these are safe for you!