Since 2006, pharmacists in the state of Pennsylvania are allowed to administer immunizations to patients 18 years of age and older, once they are properly trained and qualified. At Newhard Pharmacy, six of our pharmacists are qualified and run clinics several times a year, particularly during the flu season. One of the great things about using Newhard Pharmacy for immunizations is that in addition to our clinics, we offer a walk in service for the flu, pneumonia, and shingles vaccine. It is a convenient and cost effective way to ensure you are always protected!
Why We Need Vaccines.
Vaccines help protect against many diseases that used to be much more common. Examples include tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis, and polio. Many of these infections can cause serious or life-threatening illnesses and may lead to lifelong disabilities. Because of vaccines, many of these illnesses are now rare.
How Vaccines Work
- Vaccines "teach" your body how to defend itself when germs, such as viruses or bacteria, invade it.
- They expose you to a very small, very safe amount of viruses or bacteria that have been weakened or killed.
- Your immune system then learns to recognize and attack the infection if you are exposed to it later in life.
- As a result, you will not become ill or you may have a milder infection. This is a natural way to deal with infectious diseases.
Four types of vaccines are currently available
- Live virus vaccines use the weakened (or attenuated) form of the virus. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine are examples.
- Killed (inactivated) vaccines are made from a protein or other small pieces taken from a virus or bacteria. The flu vaccine is an example.
- Toxoid vaccines contain a toxin or chemical made by the bacteria or virus. They make you immune to the harmful effects of the infection, instead of to the infection itself. Examples are the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines.
- Biosynthetic vaccines contain manmade substances that are very similar to pieces of the virus or bacteria. The Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) conjugate vaccine is an example.
Safety of Vaccines.
Some people worry that vaccines are not safe and may be harmful, especially for children. They may ask their health care provider to wait or even choose not to have the vaccine. But the benefits of vaccines far outweigh their risks.
Scientific studies have shown that vaccines and their components, such as the preservative thimerosal, do not cause autism or ADHD. Based on these studies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Institute of Medicine conclude that the benefits of vaccines outweigh their risks.
Other information about risks
- Getting the actual infection from vaccines: Unless a person's immune system is weakened, it is unlikely that a vaccine will give the person the infection. Vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, rubella, the chickenpox, and nasal spray flu contain live but weakened viruses and should not be received by persons with weakened immune systems.
- Allergic reactions: Such reactions are rare and are usually to some part (component) of the vaccine.
- Danger of live vaccines: Certain live vaccines may be dangerous to the fetus of a pregnant woman. These include the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, the chickenpox vaccine, and the nasal spray flu vaccine. To avoid harm to the baby, pregnant women should not receive any of these vaccines. The health care provider can tell you the right time to get these vaccines.