Reasons to Vaccinate
Diseases Can Be Serious and Sometimes Deadly
Before the introduction of vaccines, millions of people died or were severely affected by diseases like polio, diphtheria, and smallpox. Vaccines have saved countless lives and reduced or eliminated deaths from many diseases in the past century.
However, every year thousands of adults in the U.S. still suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, and even die due to disease for which vaccines are available. Read stories of real families who have been affected by vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives based on age, occupation, lifestyle, locations of travel, medical conditions, and vaccines you had had in the past. When you are not up-to-date on your vaccines, you leave yourself and your loved ones vulnerable to serious diseases like influenza, hepatitis, and pneumococcal disease. Some diseases, like pertussis (or whooping cough), can be tough enough on an adult—but may be deadly for a newborn or young children. Vaccines can reduce the risk of diseases ranging from severe bacterial infections, persistent and painful viruses, and even cancer.
Vaccines Protect Us and Our Loved Ones from Disease
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, getting vaccinated against hepatitis B can also reduce your risk of liver cancer. Getting vaccinated against HPV reduces your risk of cervical cancer. And, getting the 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 understanding how vaccines work [2 pages].
Getting vaccinated can also help stop the spread of disease. This is important because some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition, and could be at high risk for complications if they get vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, newborns are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough but it can be very dangerous or even deadly for them. This makes it really important that anyone in contact with young babies, especially expectant mothers, get Tdap vaccine so they can help protect them.
Getting Vaccinated Is a Safe and Important Step to Stay Healthy
Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect your health. Because we have many long-standing systems to test and track vaccines, the United States continues to have the safest vaccine supply in history. Safety monitoring begins with the Food and Drug Administration, who ensures the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for the United States. Before a vaccine is approved by the FDA for use in the public, results of studies are evaluated by highly trained FDA scientists and doctors. FDA also inspects the sites where vaccines are made to make sure they follow strict manufacturing guidelines.
Once a vaccine is licensed, the CDC sets the U.S. immunization schedule based on recommendations by the medical and scientific experts on the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. FDA and CDC monitor vaccines after licensing to make sure they continue to be safe. As with any medical procedure, side effects can occur with vaccines. Mostly these are minor (for example, a sore arm) and go away within a few days. Serious and long term effects from vaccines are rare.
Vaccines are an important step in preventing illness. Those who have had to suffer through diseases like shingles, battle cervical cancer, or have been hospitalized because of flu complications understand the benefits of protection from vaccines. Preventing illness becomes a real priority for those who have to worry about missing work, medical bills, or not being able to care for family.
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