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Safety of vaccines

Graphic showing how vaccines can reduce antibiotic use
© University of East Anglia

In this article we explore the potential side effects of vaccines.

Although generally safe, vaccines may cause side effects – these are most commonly mild and short lived. Side effects can include pain and redness at the injection site but may be more systemic and include a low grade fever. In addition to these general side effects, individual vaccines may cause specific reactions. For example, a rash may follow the chickenpox vaccine and the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine may lead to parotitis due to the mumps component of the triple vaccine. Severe reactions occur rarely. For example, the provision of just one in a million doses of vaccine can lead to an anaphylactic reaction. It is important that the safety of vaccines is emphasised. There has been a significant drop in MMR immunisation rates following false claims of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. This has led to measles outbreaks across the UK and the USA.

© University of East Anglia
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Using Infection Control to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

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