- Why do people need vaccines? What is immunization? What is immunity?
- How can people become immune (protected)?
- Are there different types of vaccines?
- Can people receive multiple vaccinations during one visit to the doctor?
- Are there any dangers to being immunized?
- Can people with severe egg allergies still get an annual influenza vaccination?
- What reactions are likely after an immunization?
- Who should not receive a vaccine?
- What vaccines can women receive while pregnant?
- What are invalid reasons for postponing vaccination?
- Why do people keep getting vaccines if the numbers of cases of the vaccine preventable diseases are at a record low in the United States?
- Is there any financial help for people who have been injured by vaccines?
- Is there anything different that health-care workers need to do compared with non-health-care workers?
- Do people need any additional vaccinations for foreign travel?
- Where can people find additional information on immunizations?
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 immunizations 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 protected from them.
Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib)
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Japanese encephalitis (JE)
Pertussis (whooping cough)
Rotavirus (severe diarrhea)
Rubella (German measles)
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.
How can people become immune (protected)?
Immunity (protection) can occur one of two ways:
- The first way to become immune is by actually getting the natural disease. For many organisms, this confers immunity for life. When the person is exposed again to the organism, the immune system quickly reestablishes protection.
- The second way to become immune is through the use of a vaccine. The vaccine interacts with the immune system and creates the same protection as if the person had the natural infections. This is done without being exposed to the risks involved with getting the natural infection.