Your Best Defense Against Disease

Your Best Defense Against Disease

Nobody looks forward to getting a shot, but the reality is that they’re an essential factor in maintaining your health. In recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month, Coryell Health is here to give you a science-backed, medically sound rundown of the importance of immunizations.

Most commonly known as “vaccines,” immunizations are the administration of safe, agent-specific antigenic components that can induce protective immunity against the corresponding infectious agent. First introduced by Edward Jenner in 1796 to combat smallpox, vaccines are a cost-effective method to reduce the risk of getting a disease. By working with your body’s natural defenses to build protection, vaccines aid in your ability to be proactive and manage the care of your body. 

It’s important to understand that vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria. They train your immune system to create antibodies, similar to when you’re directly exposed to a disease. According to the World Health Organization, immunization currently prevents four to five million deaths yearly.

We know it can be challenging to determine what each immunization option protects you from. Allow us to decode some of them for you: 

  • DTaP: diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough); your record may show DT or DTP
  • Polio: IPV – inactivated polio vaccine; OPV – oral polio vaccine
  • HepB: hepatitis B
  • Hib: Haemophilus influenza type b 
  • PCV: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
  • MMR: measles, mumps and rubella vaccines combined
  • Varicella: chickenpox vaccine; your record may show VAR
  • HepA: hepatitis A

For even more details, check out this resource from the CDC here.

Do vaccines make you sick?

No, they do not. While some people can experience mild side effects (i.e., soreness at the injection site or low-grade fever), those should not be confused for sickness. The WHO notes that serious side effects from vaccination rarely occur – most adverse effects are rare enough that they can’t be directly tied to immunization.

Do vaccines contain toxic ingredients? 

Standard vaccinations are not toxic. While some vaccines contain ingredients that aren’t naturally found in your body, they’re only there in trace amounts. The usual dosage of any vaccine approved by the CDC is not considered toxic. 


Listen, we get it. Shots aren’t fun for anyone. But, they’re worth it in the long run for the health and safety of you and your loved ones. Make sure you stay on track with your and your child’s wellness visits. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you need a specific vaccine and be able to answer any further questions or concerns you may have. Schedule a wellness visit with one of our family medicine practitioners by calling (245) 865-2166.