This rule is for your safety. In rare cases, people may feel dizzy, faint, or have a severe allergic reaction after a vaccination. The standard recommended wait time after immunization is 15-20 minutes. If you have a reaction during this time a member of the clinic staff will be there to take care of you. However please note that side effects can occur anytime (hours or days) after a vaccination. Please contact the VHC if you have any additional questions.
Do I have to re-start the hepatitis B series if I am late in getting a dose?
No. If you are late getting a vaccine dose, you do not have to restart the series or get extra doses. As with other vaccines, if you fall behind, just continue from where you left off. Longer times between doses do not make the vaccine less effective. It is best, however, to get your delayed doses as soon as possible to make sure that you are protected against the disease.
I am going to have surgery soon. Should I get any immunizations or should I wait?
Whether or not you should receive a vaccination before surgery depends on the particular vaccination and the type of surgery.
For more information contact a VHC healthcare provider.
What side effects are considered normal after getting an immunization?
In general, mild side effects are common and go away on their own. They can include a low grade fever (usually lasting less than 24 hours), and soreness, redness, or slight swelling where the injection was given. Contact your health care provider if your side effects are severe, last longer than one week, or if you have concerns. For more information, please see our Adverse Reactions page or contact the VHC.
If I have a cold should I wait to get my immunizations?
You can get immunizations if you have a mild illness, such as a cold, low-grade fever, or slight diarrhea. However, if you have a moderate or severe illness, you should wait until you recover to get immunizations to maximize the effectiveness of the vaccination. Another reason for postponing an immunization is because illness can mask any vaccine side effects. You should contact a VHC healthcare provider regarding the risk/benefits of delaying a vaccination due to illness.
Why do adults need vaccinations?
You need vaccinations because they protect you from illness and death caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. Although these diseases are at a record low in the United States, the viruses and bacteria that cause them still exist. As you get older, the protection that you got from being vaccinated earlier in life may wear off. Getting a booster dose keeps you protected. Also, new vaccines have been discovered that you may not have received earlier in life. Staying up to date with vaccines will help to protect you and those around you.
I have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Are there some vaccines that I should not get?
Only one meningitis vaccine manufacturer lists Guillain-Barré Syndrome as a contraindication to further vaccination with that particular vaccine (alternatives are available). Other manufacturers list GBS as a precaution when considering further vaccination. This means that you and your provider must weigh the potential risks of vaccination (possible recurrence of GBS and other symptoms potentially associated with the vaccine) with the potential risks of not vaccinating (risk of contracting the vaccine-preventable disease causing the possible recurrence of GBS as well as the illness and potential death associated with the disease). You and your provider may contact the VHC to assist in your decision process.
Is it safe to donate blood or plasma after getting immunizations?
There are different guidelines for donating blood or plasma, depending on which immunization you received. While some immunizations have no restrictions for blood donation, others require a 12-month deferral. Please contact the Armed Services Blood Program Office for details on the deferral period for a particular immunization.
I am taking steroids. Are there vaccines that I should not get?
You need to discuss your steroid use with your health care provider. Based on your health condition, some vaccines will be recommended and some should be avoided.
If you have been taking high doses of steroids for longer than 2 weeks (i.e., more than 2mg of prednisone per kg/day for 14 days or longer) you should avoid live vaccines. Also, you will need to wait a certain amount of time after you stop taking the steroids before live vaccines will be safe for you. This is because the steroids suppress your immune system and put you at risk for infection from live vaccines.
High-dose steroids also can decrease your immune response to inactivated vaccines, so you may get limited protection from the vaccine.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your questions about steroid use with a VHC healthcare provider. Or you may visit the CDC for more information on this subject.