Part Three

VaccinationsWhat is the difference between undergoing a disease and vaccination? Can I get infected even if I have been vaccinated? What should I consider when vaccinating?

Undergoing the disease or being vaccinated?
We have seen that the stronger the confrontation with the pathogen is, the better is the memory of the immune system. I have also explained the differences between live-attenuated and inactivated vaccines. The confrontation with a live-attenuated pathogen that is still able to proliferate brings a better and longer lasting memory of the immune system. At this point some people will ask themselves, if it would not be better to undergo the disease instead of being vaccinated. The immune system is also trained by the vaccination, but with a harmless pathogen. The disease can throw your child back in its development. Some of the diseases can lead to complications with serious consequences, including death.

Infected despite vaccination?
The inactivated, killed pathogens make up most of the vaccines. They cannot cause a disease or infection. The vaccinated person cannot infect other people. The live vaccines are so attenuated that they can lead only to very attenuated symptoms. An infection of other people by the vaccinated person is only possible when the person has a compromises immune system. If you have immuncompromised persons in your environment, you should ask your physician before planning vaccination.

Can I get vaccinated even if I am ill?
Many parents wonder if they should cancel the vaccination appointment when the child has a cold. A common cold usually is not a reason to postpone the vaccination. You can even vaccinate during antibiotic therapy. A general rule is, that the child should not have fever over 38,5°C. If the patient is seriously ill however he should wait until two weeks after recovery before getting vaccinated. Persons with immunodeficiencies or patients with multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, or other illnesses which are treated with immunesuppressive drugs, should ask their doctor before planning vaccinations.

Vaccination in pregnancy and lactation
In principle it is possible to vaccinate during pregnancy and lactation with all inactivated vaccines like tetanus, hepatitis A and B and influenza. The flu shot is even recommended in pregnancy, as the flu itself could be dangerous for mother and the unborn child. As for the live-attenuated vaccines you should not vaccinate during pregnancy. If you want to have a baby, you should check your vaccination certificate well in advance and make up for any missing vaccinations such as whooping cough, chickenpox, measles, mumps and especially rubella, as these diseases can be dangerous during pregnancy. It is the best to wait one month after vaccination before becoming pregnant. However, if the woman becomes pregnant immediately after vaccination, there is no need to worry. There were no cases of harm of the child observed so far. During breastfeeding the woman can be vaccinated but should always ask her physician before.