Vaccinations - Indications

Have you followed the standard recommendations to vaccinate you or your children? Why or why not?

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Why do people need vaccines? What is immunization? What is immunity?

Vaccines are medications that boost our ability to fight off certain diseases. Many of the vaccine-preventable diseases are highly contagious and even fatal in non-immunized individuals (Table 1). Prior to the development of vaccines, these diseases disabled or killed millions of people. Many people living in developed countries today do not appreciate the value of vaccines because the successful use of vaccines has almost eradicated many of these diseases. These diseases are still dangerous and can kill people who are not adequately immunized.

Table 1: Vaccine-preventable diseases
(http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/default.htm)
Anthrax
Cervical cancer
Diphtheria
Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib)
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Influenza (flu)
Japanese encephalitis (JE)
Lyme disease
Measles
Meningococcal disease
Monkeypox
Mumps
Pertussis (whooping cough)
Pneumococcal disease
Poliomyelitis (polio)
Rabies
Rotavirus (severe diarrhea)
Rubella (German measles)
Shingles
Smallpox
Tetanus (lockjaw)
Varicella (chickenpox)
Yellow fever

Immunization is the act of receiving a vaccine. Immunity is the ability of the body to recognize specific infecting organisms as foreign and thereby protect against them.

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