is one of the best ways you can protect yourself and your
children against infectious disease. By stimulating your body’s
natural resistance to disease — thereby creating immunity
— vaccines are your first line of defense against the likes
of polio, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, tetanus,
diphtheria and pertussis.
it not for the widespread use of vaccines in the U.S., a far
greater number of deaths would occur during childhood and many
more people would be living with chronic and often crippling
after effects of disease," says Mayo Clinic Health System
pediatrician Joel Cassingham, M.D.
immediate result of immunization is the prevention of
dangerous, potentially life-threatening infectious illnesses.
The long-term goal of an immunization program is the complete
eradication of a disease. Smallpox, a devastating illness that
killed 30 percent of those infected and left the others with
disfiguring scars, was completely eradicated through
immunization in 1979. Measles cases in the U.S. have dropped
by 98 percent, and diphtheria, a condition that caused over
15,000 deaths in 1921, now is only reported in two or three
cases every year because of immunization.
probably trust your provider and believe that immunization for
yourself and your children is the right thing to do. You
understand that vaccinating your children also protects others
from these diseases. However, due to a missed appointment, a
hectic schedule or even lack of awareness, many children are
not immunized. And while it is true that some vaccines can
have side effects, the benefits far outweigh them," adds
vaccine is tested and must meet strict safety standards set by
the Food and Drug Administration. This can take up to 10 years
and even after being opened to the public, every immunization
is monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and
is a part of life, but through immunizations, you and your
children can protect yourself from some of the deadliest and
harshest illnesses out there," says Cassingham. "By
getting a vaccine, you are protecting everyone who works and
lives around you as well."