Reduce the Risk of Infectious Diseases
Immunity is important for two reasons: to protect yourself and to protect those around you.
Reasons to Vaccinate
Immunizations, also called vaccines, shots or vaccinations, are among the most effective options for protecting people of all ages from dangerous, even life-threatening, diseases. Vaccines greatly reduce your risk of being infected by certain diseases through building your body’s natural defenses.
How can parents get the facts about vaccine safety? Your child's doctor is your first source of reliable information. Doctors are bound by law to give you written information on the benefits and risks of each immunization suggested for your child. Reading this material can help you make a well-informed decision.
How Vaccines Work
Through a vaccine, injecting a weakened or killed bacteria or virus into the body, the body’s immune system learns how to fight the disease and produces antibodies without your body getting sick. Immunity occurs when your body has built up a strong enough defense that it is able to resist infection from a specific disease.
Different vaccines are recommended for infants, children, teenagers and adults. Check whether you’re on schedule in our chart below, titled “Vaccine Schedule by Age.”
Vaccine Schedule By Age
Infants & Children (Birth to 6 Years)
Today, most parents have never seen the devastating consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases firsthand. Though not common in the U.S., these diseases persist around the world. Vaccine-preventable diseases can cause serious illness, may require hospitalization and can be deadly — especially in infants and young children. Continuing to protect children through vaccination is an important step to prevent outbreaks.
Adolescents (7-18 Years)
Thanks to vaccines, most U.S. children are protected against serious diseases such as measles, mumps, diphtheria, polio and chickenpox. But what happens to that protection when a child becomes a tween or a teen? A teen who missed a vaccine or booster as a child may need to be immunized. Learn more about which vaccines teens need.
As we age, immunity from childhood vaccinations begins to wear off, resulting in adults being at risk for serious, potentially life-threatening diseases. In fact, every year approximately 50,000 adults in the United States die from vaccine-preventable diseases. Staying up-to-date on immunizations is the most effective protection to keep safe from these dangerous illnesses.