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Vaccines Prevent Disease
titled "How Do Vaccines Work?"
a glance: Parents are constantly concerned
about the health and safety of their children
and they take many steps to protect them.
These preventive measures range from child-proof
door latches to child safety seats. In
the same respect, vaccines work to safeguard
children from illnesses and death caused
by infectious diseases. Vaccines protect
children by helping prepare their bodies
to fight often serious, and potentially,
Most vaccine-preventable diseases are caused by
germs that are called “viruses”
or “bacteria.” Vaccines to help
prevent these diseases generally contain weakened
or killed viruses or bacteria specific to the
disease. Vaccines help your body recognize
and fight these germs and protect you each
time you come in contact with someone who is
sick with any of these diseases.
are a series of steps that your body goes through
in fighting these diseases:
vaccine is given by a shot (influenza vaccine
may be given by a nasal spray).
the next few weeks the body makes antibodies
and memory cells against the weakened or
dead germs in the vaccine.
antibodies can fight the real disease germs
if the person is exposed to the germs and
they invade the body. The antibodies will
help destroy the germs and the person will
not become ill.
and memory cells stay on guard in the body
for years after the vaccination to safeguard
it from the real disease germs.
vaccines are given to babies and young children,
but some are needed throughout your lifetime
to make sure you stay protected. This protection
is called immunity. Vaccines
are an important and safe way to keep you healthy.
Immunizing individual children
also helps to protect the health of our community.
People who cannot be vaccinated will be less
likely to be exposed to disease germs that can
be passed around by unvaccinated children. Immunization
also prevents disease outbreaks.
Why are vaccines important?
newborn babies are immune to many diseases
because they have antibodies passed from their
mothers. However, this immunity only lasts
a year or less. Further, most young children
do not have maternal immunity from whooping
cough, polio, hepatitis B, or Haemophilus influenzae
If your child
is not vaccinated and is exposed to a disease
germ, the child’s body may not be strong enough
to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many
children died of
diseases vaccines prevent, like whooping
cough, measles, and polio. Those germs still
exist today, but children are now protected
by vaccines and so we do not see these diseases
For more information
- Contact the
National Immunization Program, CDC:
National Immunization Hotline:
English (800) 232-2522 or Spanish (800) 232-0233
- Visit the
Every Child by Two website: