Immunization, or more commonly referred to as vaccination, is a preventative medical procedure designed to prepare one’s immune system of potential viruses and diseases. The procedure commonly involves the injection (or nasal spray in some cases) of an already dead version of a virus to prepare your immune system in the event that a live one comes around. The idea is that this makes your body immune to the virus and can help prevent the spread and use of the disease. Examples of immunizations can include smallpox, measles, and yearly influenza shots.
Although getting a shot can sound scary, vaccinations are the best way to keep yourself safe from many diseases. But how do they work? Which ones do you or your children need? What are the side effects of vaccines?
Most children should follow the same immunization schedule, including booster shots for older kids. Several vaccinations are also recommended for teens and adults. Traveling to certain countries, attending college, or starting a new job may require shots too as different working or living conditions may present greater opportunity for infection by uncommon diseases.
Which vaccinations are right for you? Click here to learn more.
Why you should get immunized
Immunizations, or vaccinations, protect you and the people around you. They keep you and your family from catching serious and often untreatable diseases. Even though some of these diseases have almost disappeared in the United States, you can still get them while traveling or from travelers if you’re not vaccinated.
Fortunately, most vaccines are free or don’t cost much. In fact, they cost less than getting treated for the diseases that the shots protect you from. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely there will be of an outbreak of a terrible disease, so it’s better when everyone is healthier.
Learn more about how immunizations protect entire populations—including you and the people you care about most, here.
Vaccination for children
As a parent who is concerned about your child’s health, you will have many questions about your child’s vaccinations. Are vaccines really needed? Which shots do they need, and when? What are the possible side effects of vaccinations? Are immunizations safe? Is it okay to skip shots when a child is sick? We’ve put together some of your most frequently asked questions about immunizations so that you can get straight answers in the link below.
Click here to learn more about vaccinating your children to keep them—and everyone around them—healthy and safe.
Common myths about the flu vaccine
Though the flu vaccine can be a hassle, there are some common myths about the vaccine’s effectiveness that need to be addressed. One is the myth that the vaccine causes influenza. While influenza is being injected as part of the vaccine, the virus is already dead, so it can’t infect you.
Another misconception is that the vaccine is ineffective, as some people have gotten the disease even after being vaccinated. Keep in mind that a flu vaccine is a preventative measure, rather than a cure for the flu. While it may not cure the disease or do much if you’ve been infected before receiving the vaccination, it can help prevent you from receiving it following the vaccination.
To learn more about the flu vaccine myths, check out our page on common misconceptions about the flu vaccine, here.