Prevention is the best option

The importance of vaccines

Importància de la vacunació

Along with water sanitation and environmental hygiene measures, vaccinations are the preventive measure that has contributed the most to improving population health and increasing life expectancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that vaccinations prevent 2.5 million deaths a year around the world.

Vaccines are biological products that activate the immune system by producing an immune response similar to a natural infection, leaving a long-term imprint.

As well as the protection they offer individuals, vaccines also protect the entire population by blocking the spread of disease when 95% of the population is vaccinated. Vaccination is therefore also an act of solidarity with people who cannot be vaccinated for various reasons.


What are the side effects of vaccines?

Most reactions to vaccinations are mild and do not last long (pain and redness at the site of injection, a high temperature, etc.). Vaccines are very safe and are subjected to very rigorous controls, at both the research and the manufacturing stage. The authorisation and subsequent marketing of new vaccines are regulated in Europe by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and in Spain by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS). The benefits of vaccines far outweigh their risks.


Why do we need to vaccinate against diseases that are not found in our country?

Thanks to the success of vaccinations, some diseases have been eradicated and others are on the verge of being eliminated. It is, however, very important to continue vaccinating so that such diseases do not reappear. The resurgence of measles in Europe in the last few years is a good example of what can happen when vaccination coverage decreases.


Do vaccines contain mercury?

No, the vaccines administered in Catalonia do not contain mercury. Thiomersal is a derivative of mercury that is used as a preservative. The vaccines administered in Catalonia are in single dose form and therefore do not contain the preservative.


Do vaccines contain aluminium?

Vaccines contain a small amount of aluminium (0.5 mg), which is not damaging to health. It is estimated that we ingest 8 mg of aluminium in our diet on a daily basis without causing us any issues.


Is it true that vaccines cause autism?

There is no connection between autism and vaccines. This false relationship comes from a study that was later shown to be fraudulent. Methodologically correct studies have found no connection between vaccines and autism.


Are too many vaccines administered to children in the first year of their lives?

No, the vaccines included in the systematic vaccination schedule protect against common, serious illnesses, and they are administered at the recommended ages and at the ideal intervals to favour a correct immune response. It is a myth that vaccinating small children overloads their immune system or that there are more adverse reactions.


Why is the Systematic Vaccination Schedule in Catalonia changed so often?

The Systematic Vaccination Schedule is constantly updated to reflect new scientific research and advances related to vaccines. Before a vaccine is included in the Schedule a scientific and financial assessment is done in order to implement the vaccination based on well established criteria.

Catalan Health Authority link explaining the key vaccines:

WHO link, FAQs:

COMB link (Catalan Official Doctors' Association), vaccination is protection:


Notable professionals at Vall d’Hebron who work in this field:

Ms Laia Pinós, Ms M. José Manzano, Dr Magda Campins, Dr Xavier Martínez, Dr José Angel Rodrigo, Dr Susana Otero.

Related professionals
Dra. Magda
Campins Martí
Head of Department
Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology
Epidemiology and Public Health
Sra. Carmen
Ferrer Barbera
Nursing Supervisor
Infectious Diseases