A vaccine (or immunization) is a way to build your body’s natural immunity to a disease before you get sick. This keeps you from getting and spreading the disease.
For most vaccines, a weakened form of the disease germ is injected into your body. This is usually done with a shot in the leg or arm. Your body detects the invading germs (antigens) and produces antibodies to fight them. Those antibodies then stay in your body for a long time. In many cases, they stay for the rest of your life. If you’re ever exposed to the disease again, your body will fight it off without you ever getting the disease.
Some illnesses, like strains of cold viruses, are fairly mild. But some, like smallpox or polio, can cause life-altering changes. They can even result in death. That’s why preventing your body from contracting these illnesses is very important.
Why it’s important?
Childhood vaccines or immunizations can seem overwhelming when you are a new parent. Vaccine schedules recommended by agencies and organizations, such as the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians cover about 14 different diseases.
Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that used to spread from child to child.
Top Reasons to Protect Children through Vaccination
- Parents want to do everything possible to make sure their children are healthy and protected from preventable diseases. Vaccination is the best way to do that.
- Vaccination protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases which can include amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
- Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough, are still a threat. They continue to infect children, resulting in hospitalizations and deaths every year.
- Though vaccination has led to a dramatic decline in the number of cases of several infectious diseases, some of these diseases are quite common in other countries and are brought to the by international travelers. If children are not vaccinated, they could easily get one of these diseases from a traveler or while traveling themselves.
- Outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children.
- Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and the federal government to make sure they are safe.
- Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all strongly support protecting children with recommended vaccinations.
- Vaccination protects others you care about, including family members, friends, and grandparents.
- If children aren’t vaccinated, they can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients and people with cancer. This could result in long-term complications and even death for these vulnerable people.
- We all have a public health commitment to our communities to protect each other and each other’s children by vaccinating our own family members.