Frequently Asked Questions
What is immunity?
When a disease such as a virus or bacteria enters the body it begins to reproduce which makes you unwell. The immune system creates anti-bodies to destroy the disease to make you better. Anti-bodies cannot act fast enough to stop you from becoming unwell. The second role of anti-bodies is to protect you from future infections of the same disease. They remain in your body for years and the body can produce them in order to destroy the disease before it can make you unwell.
What is a vaccine?
A vaccine is an altered version (dead or weakened) of a disease which is introduced into the body.
How does a vaccine work?
When the vaccine is given, the immune system begins to create anti-bodies as if it were infected by a disease to attack the vaccine. The anti-bodies remain which gives the body immunity if the real disease is encountered.
How is a vaccine introduced?
Vaccines are commonly introduced to the body by injection, although some are given orally.
Certain diseases can cause suffering, as well as complications such as disability or even death. Disease can be significantly reduced or even eradicated through the use of vaccines, an example of which is smallpox. Vaccines can prevent a disease being passed onto other people.
While some infections may be treated with anti-biotics, there are few treatments available for viral infections. Anti-biotics do not work against viruses and there is an increasing occurrence of bacteria which are becoming resistant to anti-biotics. Preventing infection in the first occurrence is the best approach.
Why does a vaccine need to be repeated?
Some vaccines need to repeated, but not all. Children who have received both MMR vaccines are likely to benefit for life. The influenza (flu) vaccine is short as the disease which causes the flu can change from season to season, meaning your anti-bodies don’t recognise the difference.
Can I still become sick?
Yes, a vaccine may give you mild symptoms of the disease they resemble.
A vaccine cannot give you 100% protection, but can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming unwell as well as reducing the likelihood of developing serious effects of an illness.
Are vaccines safe and effective?
Nothing is guaranteed to be 100% safe or effective. Vaccines are not completely free from side effects. Vaccines are tested extensively through scientific clinical studies to ensure that they are safe to be administered to the population and are regularly monitored.
Side effects of vaccines can be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) through the Yellow Card Scheme. This is reportable through your GP, Nurse, Pharmacist or your practitioner. You can also report it yourself by:
- Yellow Card Scheme online: https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
- Picking up a yellow card from your GP Surgery or GP and sending it to the provided address.
- Calling the Yellow Card Freephone on 0808 100 3352 Monday-Friday 1000-1400.
Do vaccines cause autism?
There is no evidence which suggests that vaccines cause autism. A study in 1998 around the MMR vaccine was disproven, and authors of the paper have formally disowned the study.
What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity occurs when enough people within a community receive a vaccine. This makes it harder for a disease to pass between people, and even to those who have not been vaccinated. Herd immunity is important to people who cannot receive a vaccine because they are too ill or having treatment which can damage their immune system.
What are the common side effects of vaccinations?
All vaccines can cause side effects which can be mild and do not last longer than a few days. Some people will not develop side effects. The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) included with the vaccine will list the specific side effects and rates of occurrence to that vaccine.
Common vaccine side effects are:
- Injection site reactions (pain, swelling and redness)
- Mild Fever (temperature above 38°C)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea (feeling sick)
Common side effects are manageable with oral paracetamol, increasing fluid intake and placing cold compresses at injection sites.
What are the serious side effects of vaccinations?
Serious side effects are rare for vaccines. These are more commonly due to a component (stabilisers, adjuvants/enhancers, preservatives and anti-biotics) in the vaccine rather than the vaccine itself.
Some people may develop an allergic reaction to a vaccine. This is usually a rash or itching which may occur on a part or all over the body. Convulsions may also occur. The practitioner giving the vaccine is trained in the management of these.
1 in 1,000,000 people may develop a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine a few minutes after administration. This is known as an anaphylactic reaction or anaphylaxis.
- Feeling faint or lightheaded
- Breathing difficulties
- Fast heartbeat
- Clammy skin
- Swelling of the face, throat and tongue
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Vomiting (being sick)
- Stomach pain
While anaphylaxis can be fatal, it is quickly reversible and treatable which the practitioner is trained to do. You will require hospitalisation afterwards at the nearest Emergency Department (A&E/ED) as the medication used to reverse anaphylaxis may wear off and you may have a secondary reaction.
How can I submit feedback or file a complaint?
You can submit feedback by completing the Patient Survey or Staff Survey. If you wish to make a complaint about the service which has been provided, then please put your complaint in writing via a letter or an email and we will endeavour to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Our contact details can be found on our Contact Us page.
I'm not in Yorkshire, can you still travel to me?
Yes, we can travel to anywhere in the UK, though the further the distance from our base in Leeds, the higher the call out fee. Contact us for more information about our call out fees.
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept most major forms of payment, including cash on the day and bank transfer. Visit our page on How it works for more information.
What is the difference between a vaccine, vaccination and immunisation?
These words are more or less synonymous. A vaccine is an altered version (dead or weakened) of a disease which is introduced into the body, and a vaccination is the act of doing this. Immunisation the gaining of immunity from a disease, which is done through the use of a vaccine.
If you cannot find the answer to your question below, do not hesitate to contact us.