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)
immunizing children. Immunizations protect both the
individual and the community.
Vaccinations prevent 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.
very little-much less than treating the illnesses they prevent.
exposure to a disease occurs in a community, there is little to no risk of an
epidemic if people have been immunized.
Also, immunizations are often required by law. In many areas,
children must be immunized before they can start day care or school, although
most states have provisions to waive this requirement if it conflicts with a
family's religious beliefs.
The idea underlying immunizations is simple:
Introduce a small part ("antigen") or a weakened live version of an infectious germ (like a bacterium or virus) into the body by injecting, swallowing, or inhaling it.
This induces the body to make antibodies and other immunological defenses to fight off that perceived threat.
Then, when exposed to the real infectious agent later on, the body has the pre-existing immunity to quickly recognize the germ and muster up the defenses to prevent it...
Reactions to immunizations are usually mild and don't last long.
Serious reactions to immunizations are extremely rare. Health risks are much
higher if you are not immunized and you become infected with a disease. Talk to
your health professional if you have any concerns about having your child
immunized. On very rare occasions, your health professional may recommend
waiting to have your child immunized, such as when he or she has: