What's It Like: To get a vaccine

Getting a vaccine usually doesn't hurt much and has few side effects
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: August 12, 2012

Why get vaccinated?

After the polio vaccine was introduced in 1955, the United States saw an eradication of polio by 1979. This was an example of the power of vaccines.

Although not everyone agrees upon the use of vaccines, many doctors and public health officials explain how vaccines can prevent disease outbreaks from occurring.

What happens when you get a vaccine?

It will vary, depending on where you receive your vaccine. You can usually get a vaccine from your local health department, pharmacies or from your primary care physician.

When you receive the vaccine, a medical worker will place a needle in your arm and administer the vaccine.

You should bring your vaccination history with you. Also, it's best to eat before you go in for a vaccine. You could get dizzy or nauseous if you don't have any food in your stomach, especially if you're sensitive to medicines.

Vaccines contain at least part of the same germ that causes the disease.

Once the vaccine is inside your body, it will cause your body to produce antibodies, which will attack the foreign particles in your body.

This is the same thing that happens when you're actually sick.

This process helps your body build up immunity to the disease.

The goal is for your body to produce memory cells, which will recognize the disease you were vaccinated for if it ever tries to infect you.

Does it hurt?

A vaccine is administered by a needle. It's important to keep your muscle relaxed. This will help the medical professional administering the shot be able to stick you with the needle and cause the least amount of damage to the tissue that's poked.

You might have bleeding at the site. Also, depending on the vaccine, your arm might be sore for a few days after the vaccine.


by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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