Vaccines are pharmaceutical products that come with risks that can be greater for some people. 1 2 No vaccine is safe for everyone. 3 4
If you choose to vaccinate, ask 8 questions before you do: 5
- Number One: Am I sick right now? Getting vaccinated while sick could increase risks for a vaccine reaction or lower vaccine effectiveness. 6
- Number Two: Have I had a bad reaction to a vaccination before? Getting re-vaccinated after a previous vaccine reaction could cause a more serious reaction, injury or death. 7 8
- Number Three: Do I have a personal or family history of vaccine reactions, neurological disorders, severe allergies or immune system problems? Always review your personal and family medical history when evaluating vaccine benefits and risks. 9 10 11 12
- Number Four: Do I know the disease and vaccine risks? Learn about disease and vaccine risks that could be greater for you or your child. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
- Number Five: Do I have full information about the vaccine’s side effects? Before you take a risk, find out what it is for each vaccine you or your child will receive. 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
- Number Six: Do I know how to identify and report a vaccine reaction? Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and where and how to report them. 28 29 30
- Number Seven: Do I know I need to keep a written record, including the vaccine manufacturer’s name and lot number, for vaccinations? The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 requires all vaccine providers to record information about vaccines given to you or your child. 31
- Number Eight: Do I know I have the right to make an informed choice? Informed consent to medical risk taking, including vaccine risk taking, is a human right. 32 33 34 35
Explore NVIC's Ask 8 Information Kiosk for referenced information and a variety of materials designed to educate you about vaccines, diseases and how to make educated vaccine decisions. You can download posters and brochures to share with others or send an ecard to family and friends. You can also post or read personal vaccination experiences on this website. Click here to learn more and start your journey!
It’s your family. Your health. Your choice.
1 Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality: Evaluating Bioloical Mechanisms of Adverse Events (p. 57-102), Increased Susceptibility (p. 82). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.
2 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies: Summary: Health Outcomes (p. 5-6) and Conclusions About Scientific Findings (p. 11) and Review of Scientific Findings (p. 75-98). Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 2013.
3 Institute of Medicine
4 Health Resources Services Administration. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Data and Statistics.
5 NVIC. If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 (downloadable brochure).
6 CDC. ACIP Contraindications Guidelines for Immunization. Contraindications & Precautions: General Principles. July 12, 2017.
7 CDC. General Recommendations for Immunization: Screening for Contraindications and Precautions to Vaccination. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book) – 13th Edition (2015). Nov. 15, 2016.
8 Wise RP, Iskander S, Pratt RD et al. Postlicensure Safety Surveillance for 7-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. JAMA 2004; 292(14): 1702-1710.
9 Stetler HC, Orenstein WA. History of Convulsions and Use of Pertussis Vaccine. J Pediatr 1985; 107(2): 175-179.
10 Crowe JE. Genetic Predisposition for Adverse Events After Vaccination. J Infect Dis 2007; 196(2): 176-177.
11 Orbach H, Agmon-Levin N, Zandman-Goddard G. Vaccines and Autoimmune Diseases of the Adult. Discovery Magazine Feb. 4, 2010.
12 Zafir Y, Admon-Levin N et al. Autoimmunity following hepatitis B vaccine as part of the spectrum of ‘Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants (ASIA): analysis of 93 cases. Lupus 2012; 21(2): 146-152.
13 Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Events Association with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality. Neurologic Disorders. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 1994.
14 Evans G, Bostrom A, Johnston RB, Fisher BL, Stoto MA, Editors. Risk Communication and Vaccination: Summary of a Workshop. Vaccine Safety Forum, Institute of Medicine: National Academy Press 1997. Pages 21-22.
15 Kwiatkowski D. Susceptibility to Infection. Brit Med J 2000; 321(7268): 1061-1065.
16 Alcais A, Abel L, Casanova JL. Human genetics of infectious diseases: between proof of principle and paradigm. J Clin Invest 2009; 119: 2506-2541.
17 Zimmer C. Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden. The New York Times June 18, 2012.
18 Chung EH. Vaccine allergies. Clin Exp Vaccine Res 2014; 3(1): 50-57.
19 NVIC. Diseases and Vaccines.
20 Zimmerman B, Gold R, Lavi S. Adverse effects of immunization: Is prevention possible? Postgrad Med 1987 82(5): 225-229.
21 Souayah N, Nasar A et al. Guillain-Barre syndrome after vaccination in the United States: a report from the CDC/FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Vaccine 2007; 25(29): 5253-5255.
22 Tunkel AR, Glaser CA et al. The Management of Encephalitis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis 2008; 47(3): 303-327.
23 Hyunh W, Cordato DJ et al. Post-vaccination encephalomyelitis: literature review and illustrative cases. J Clin Neurosci 2008; 15(12): 1315-1322.
24 Slade BA, Leidel L, Vellozzi C, Woo EJ et al. Postlicensure Safety Surveillance for Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Recombinant Vaccine. JAMA 2009; 302(7): 750-757.
25 Taraki B, Ashok N et al. Hepatitis B vaccination and Associated Oral Manifestations: A Non-Systemic Review of Literature and Case Reports. Ann Med Health Sci 2014; 4(6): 829-836.
26 D’Alo GL, Zorzoli E et al. Frequently asked questions on seven rare adverse events following vaccination. J Pre Med Hyg 2017; 58: E-13-E26.
27 CDC. Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary. Jan 6, 2017.
28 NVIC. Learn How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Vaccine Reactions.
29 NVIC. Diseases and Vaccines.
30 NVIC. Vaccine Reporting Systems: You Have Options.
31 NVIC. National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.
32 Fisher BL. Why Is Informed Consent to Vaccination A Human Right? NVIC Newsletter June 28, 2017.
33 Fisher BL. The Moral Right to Conscientious, Philosophical and Personal Belief Exemption to Vaccination.
34 Fisher BL. Vaccination: Defending Your Right to Know and Freedom to Choose. NVIC Newsletter Nov. 3, 2014.
35 NVIC. Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall.
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