Preventing Disease Through Immunization
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Vaccination starts at birth. Teens and adults also need vaccines regularly. Talk with your health care provider about the immunization schedule that is best for you. Some vaccines need to be repeated when you are older.
Immunization occurs when the body is exposed to germs that cause a certain disease. The body responds to this exposure by forming certain proteins, called antibodies, to fight those germs. Germs in vaccines are dead or very weak, so they will not make you sick. However, the antibodies that your body makes will stay in your body for a long time. This improves the ability of your immune system to fight the germs in the future. If you get exposed to the germs again, your body may be able to resist them because you have developed immunity against them. This is because your antibodies may destroy the germs before you get sick.
Vaccines can protect you from getting diseases that can cause harmful complications and even death. Getting vaccinated also helps to keep other people healthy. If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to spread disease to others, and that can make the disease become less common. If people keep getting vaccinated, certain diseases may become rare or go away. If people stop getting vaccinated, certain diseases could become more common.
Not everyone can get a vaccine. Very young babies, people who are very sick, or older people may not be able to get vaccines. By getting immunized, you help to protect people who are not able to be vaccinated.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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