You probably have memories of getting vaccinations when you were younger, and some of you remember when they were a new thing. When vaccinations became widely used to prevent people from getting sick, it was an exciting step forward in medical science. We no longer had to worry about terrible, contagious diseases like small pox, mumps, polio, and many others that people were afraid of getting.
Today, some people have begun questioning whether or not they might be causing more harm than good, especially in children. However, the medical community still completely backs the administration of vaccines, saying that their benefits far outweigh any risks.
The elderly, and especially those with chronic illnesses such as COPD, should be vaccinated every year with that year's flu shot, and every 5 years for pneumonia. Both of these illnesses will cause serious problems for those with lung diseases, since they both cause inflammation to the airways and effect the lungs. Anyone with a compromised immune system should be vaccinated.
While all medicines carry a very small risk of an adverse reaction, vaccinations are still much safer than putting yourself at risk for getting terribly sick. Most of the time, a shot like the flu shot or any other vaccine will cause a little bit of pain at the injection site. Some people will also feel a little under the weather a day after getting the flu shot. This is normal, and not so bad that you feel sick.
It will take 2 weeks for the shot to take its course through your body and your immune system, and during this time you could still get the flu. This is why its important to get your shot as early in the season as possible. Even if you've gotten the flu shot or pneumonia shot, you should still take the usual precautions to keep from getting sick, such as washing your hands often, not touching door handles in public places, and staying away from those who are sick.
With the recent cases of Ebola in the United States, the Ebola vaccine has been under testing with successful results, according to this article from Chemistry World [http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2014/12/ebola-vaccine-passes-first-safety-hurdle-phase-i]. We've seen how easy it was to spread the disease to different countries, where before it was being contained to a small area of West Africa. The medical community hopes to get rid of the disease completely in a few years by administering the vaccine worldwide.
Diseases that we thought were dead and gone can certainly come back if we stop giving people the vaccines. This is one major reason why vaccines are so important. In parts of the world where vaccines aren't as widely used, polio had started to make a comeback.
If we don't have children vaccinated for it, there is a chance they could get it, and then it would be too late to prevent it. This works the same way with any vaccine. If many people opt to not get the flu shot, there's a chance we could see a serious flu epidemic.