A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a range of vaccinations for all ages. These vaccines help prevent dangerous diseases that in the past would sicken countless people each year.
However, these vaccines may not be right for everyone. The CDC advises that certain people not get specific vaccines, or to wait before getting vaccinated. This is because different vaccines contain different components, and each vaccine can affect you differently. Your age, health conditions, and other factors all combine to determine if you should get each vaccine.
Here are guidelines for those who should avoid or delay some of the more common vaccines.
- Influenza (flu)
You should not get vaccinated for influenza if you:
- have had a past severe, life-threatening reaction to the flu vaccine
- are an infant younger than 6 months old
- are currently moderately to severely ill
- People with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) should discuss the risks of the flu
- vaccine with their doctor.
Some people may not be able to receive the live influenza vaccine (LAIV), which is the nasal spray flu vaccine. Talk with your doctor if any of the following apply to you or your child:
- children under 2 years of age
- young children with a history of asthma or wheezing
- pregnant women
- people with chronic diseases, such as heart disease, liver disease, or asthma
- people with certain muscle or nerve diseases that can cause breathing problems
- people who have compromised immune systems
- people working or living with those who have compromised immune systems
- children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment
EGG ALLERGY AND THE FLU VACCINE
You may have heard that people with egg allergies cannot receive a flu vaccine. That used to be true, but the CDC has changed its recommendation. The CDC now says that it’s safe for people with an allergy to eggs to receive any flu vaccine that’s appropriate for their age and health conditions.
If you get hives or other mild reactions from eating eggs, you can safely receive any flu vaccine. If you experience more severe reactions from eggs, such as swelling or trouble breathing, you can also get a flu vaccine. However, it should be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider who can manage those symptoms. If you have an egg allergy and you’re not sure how it would affect how you receive the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist
2. Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A (HepA) is a virus that causes liver disease. It’s primarily spread through consuming food or water that has been contaminated by human feces, but it can also be spread through close contact.
The CDC recommends routine HepA vaccinations for all adults if they didn’t receive the vaccination during childhood. It also emphasizes the importance of receiving the vaccine for individuals traveling to high-risk areas. These areas include:
- Central and South America
- parts of Asia
- eastern Europe
However, there are certain people who should not get this vaccine. Risk factors include:
- past severe reaction to HepA vaccine
- severe allergy to component(s) of the HepA vaccine, such as aluminum or neomycin
- People who are sick are generally advised to wait for the vaccination. Pregnant women
- may also be advised to wait for the vaccination. However, the risk to the fetus is low. If a pregnant woman is at high risk for HepA, vaccination may still be recommended.
3. Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B (HepB) is another virus that can cause liver disease. It can spread from infected blood or body fluids, as well as from a mother to her newborn child. People with chronic HepB infection are at increased risk of end-stage liver disease (cirrhosis), as well as liver cancer.
Routine vaccination is recommended. However, certain people should not receive the HepB vaccine. Risk factors include:
- severe allergy any of the vaccine components
- past severe reaction to HepB vaccine
- moderate to severe current illness
4. Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Most HPV infections go away without the need for treatment. However, the HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer in women if it’s administered before they become sexually active. It can also help prevent other HPV-related diseases including:
- vulvar cancer
- vaginal cancer
- anal cancer
- penile cancer
- throat cancer
- genital warts
The CDC advises the following people to avoid the HPV vaccine:
- Those with severe allergies to previous doses or HPV vaccine components
- pregnant women (breastfeeding is fine)
- people with a current moderate-to-severe illness
The vaccines available today have made a huge impact on public health, keeping people safe from dangerous diseases that can lead to severe sickness and even death. For most people, these vaccines are safe and cause few, if any, negative effects. However, some people should delay or avoid certain vaccines for various reasons.
If you’re not sure if you or your child should get a particular vaccine, talk to your doctor. They can explain all of the pros and cons of each vaccine, and help you make the choice that’s best for you.
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