How Vaccines work
Vaccines are simple. One to five doses of a vaccine can provide long-term to life-long protection from some serious diseases. Vaccines act naturally to stimulate the body’s own immune system. The body’s response to vaccines builds a defense against future exposure to diseases.
We need to immunize because vaccines prevent 12 potentially deadly diseases. In the days before immunization, millions of people died from diseases like diphtheria, polio, measles and whooping cough. Re-emergence of these diseases occurs when there are decreases in vaccine use.
A long and thorough process is in place to ensure the safety of vaccines. Licensing of a vaccine can take up to 10 years. Once a vaccine is in use by the general public, its safety is continually monitored. Vaccines, like any medication, can cause side effects. However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk. Consider measles. One out of 30 children with measles gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get the disease, one or two will die from it. Thanks to vaccines, we have few cases of measles in the U.S. today. However, the disease is extremely contagious and each year dozens of cases are imported from abroad into the U.S., threatening
the health of people who have NOT been vaccinated. Vaccines effectively and affordably prevent diseases like measles that used to disable or even kill many children each year.