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Vaccination: the basics

Modern Vaccines are highly efficient and well tolerated, but - like other drugs - they are not always 100% effective. For example, vaccination against measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) for the first time does not lead to the desired immunity in around five to seven percent of those vaccinated. In order to protect everyone as possible, the MMR vaccination is repeated after a short time.

Serious side effects after vaccination are rarely observed. In principle, one differentiates between, depending on the severity of the undesirable reactions

  • Vaccination reaction,
  • Vaccine disease,
  • Vaccination complication and
  • permanent vaccination damage.

Vaccination reactions may occasionally take the form of local reactions at the injection site, such as redness, swelling or pain, a brief general feeling of illness or a slight fever. These symptoms arise because the immune system reacts to the vaccine and has to deal with it. Vaccination reactions therefore only last a short time and usually subside after a few days without complications.

Serious side effects from vaccination and vaccination complications are extremely rare and are mainly based on allergic reactions to accompanying substances in the vaccine.

You can also find out more about allergic reactions from the Allergy Information Service.

Vaccination complications and vaccination damage can also be caused by technical errors, by an incorrect vaccination technique or by failure to recognize contraindications. They are mostly based on an individual reaction of the vaccinated person.