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Why Vaccines are Important for You

In the U.S., vaccines have greatly reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease and death still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines.

You May Be at Risk for Serious Disease

Every year thousands of adults in the U.S. still suffer serious illness, are hospitalized, and even die due to disease for which vaccines are available.

Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off. You may also be at risk for other disease due to your job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions. Find out what vaccines you may need based on different risk factors.

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You Can Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Disease

Vaccines are very safe

  • Vaccines are tested and monitored. Vaccines are tested before being licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both the CDC and FDA continue to monitor vaccines after they are licensed.
  • Vaccine side effects are usually mild and temporary. The most common side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Severe side effects are very rare.
  • Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect your health. Even people taking prescription medications can be vaccinated. However, if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system talk with your doctor before being vaccinated, as some vaccines may not be recommended for you.

Vaccines can reduce your chance of getting certain diseases. Vaccines work with the body's natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease and reduce your chances of getting certain diseases and suffering from their complications. For instance:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine can also reduce your risk of liver cancer.
  • HPV vaccine reduces your risk of cervical cancer.
  • Flu vaccine reduces your risk of influenza-related heart attacks or other flu related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Read more about how vaccines work [2 pages].

Vaccines reduce your chance of spreading disease.

  • Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition so they rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Infant, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease. For example, newborns are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough but it can be very dangerous or even deadly for them. That is why anyone in contact with young babies, especially expectant mothers, get Tdap vaccine to help protect them.

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You Can't Afford to Get Sick

You have a busy life and too much responsibility to risk getting sick. Vaccines can help you stay healthy so you don't miss work and you have time for your family, friends and hobbies.

Getting your recommended vaccines can give you the peace of mind that you have the best possible protection available against a number of serious diseases.

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