Question actually says it all.

Since a vaccine can make you immune to a disease/infection X, shouldn't we just get all the available ones?

Is there a risk with getting lots of vaccines as an adult? If no, shouldn't we be getting as many as possible? If yes, what those risks would be and why?

  • I've heard that certain ones (like rabies) are very hard to make and expensive.
    – mroll
    Apr 23 '18 at 23:46

You should typically only receive vaccinations for which the risk of the disease is higher than the risk of the vaccine.

All vaccines carry some risk - albeit small.

For example, for the flu vaccine, there is a small incidence of patients who can get Guillain-Barre syndrome which causes an ascending paralysis. As a result, if you lived in an area that never got influenza - this likely not be of benefit. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the risk of flu and the side effects of flu are much higher than the risk of the vaccine - thus the cost benefit suggests it is worth it.

Some vaccines, like the Smallpox vaccine, have been retired because the disease has been eradicated. Some older people you might know (including this author) still have the scars on their arms from childhood from the multiple pinpricks necessary to administer the vaccine. This vaccine is one example of a likely unnecessary vaccine to take.

Polio is almost eradicated as well - so it may be just a few years before that vaccine will be unnecessary.

That said, most vaccines have been created for diseases for which the risk of exposure exists - and taking those vaccines for anything to which you face a risk of exposure can easily outweigh any risks of the vaccine.

  • 2
    Polio is almost eradicated? Says who?
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 24 '18 at 4:21
  • @CareyGregory 22 cases in 2017. The only reason that it hasn't been completely eradicated is political eg. the Pakistan Taliban. ctc.usma.edu/… Apr 24 '18 at 6:45
  • 2
    @GrahamChiu My comment was mostly rhetorical. This answer needs supporting references.
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 24 '18 at 12:29
  • 2
    Can you supply some more supporting references? Your answer looks good otherwise. Apr 25 '18 at 0:39

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