An overwhelming majority of health professionals, medical
researchers, and professional medical organizations (such as the American
Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice Physicians)
immunized is important for at least two reasons: to
protect yourself and to protect those around you. Vaccines are the best way we have to prevent infectious disease. A successful immunization
program depends on the cooperation of every person.
Vaccinations prevent you or your child from getting
diseases for which there are often no medical treatments. These illnesses can
result in serious complications and even death.
A small number of
people may be susceptible to diseases, such as those with
impaired immune systems. These people may not be able
to get vaccinations or may not develop immunity even after having been
vaccinated. Their only protection against certain diseases is for others to get
vaccinated so the illnesses are less common.
Getting immunized costs less than getting treated for the
diseases that the shots protect you from.
exposure to a disease occurs in a community, there is little to no risk of an
epidemic if people have been immunized.
Improved sanitation, hygiene, and other living conditions have
created a generally healthier environment and reduced the risks for disease
exposure and infection in the United States. But the dramatic and
long-term decrease of diseases is primarily a result of widespread
immunizations throughout the U.S. population.
Even though some diseases, such as
polio, rarely affect people in the U.S., all of the
recommended childhood immunizations and booster vaccines are still needed.
These diseases still exist in other countries. Travelers can unknowingly bring
these diseases into the U.S. and infect people who have not been immunized.
Without the protection from immunizations, these diseases could be imported and
could quickly spread through the population, causing epidemics. Nonimmunized
people living in healthy conditions are not protected from disease. Your body's immune system can fight a disease better and faster if you have had the infection before or if you get immunized.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.