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What is a Vaccination?

Vaccination is a means of producing immunity against pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, by the introduction of live, killed, or altered antigens that stimulate the body to produce antibodies against more dangerous forms.

History of Vaccinations

Vaccination was used in ancient times in China, India, and Persia, and was introduced in the West in 1796 by Edward Jenner. Jenner demonstrated that rubbing or scraping the cowpox virus into the skin produced only a local lesion but was sufficient to stimulate the production of antibodies that would defend the body against the more virulent smallpox.

Importance of Vaccinations

Vaccination has eradicated smallpox worldwide and prevents such diseases as cholera , rabies , and typhoid fever . Vaccines work with the immune system's ability to recognize and destroy foreign proteins (antigens) that it determines are “nonself.”

Vaccination programs in the United States have been very successful. For example, in 1998 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported only one case of poliomyelitis, one of diphtheria, 34 of tetanus, and 89 of measles.

Ten Important facts about Immunizations

  1. Immunizations are one of the best ways to protect children against serious infectious diseases. Vaccines are mostly safe. Children and adults that have not been immunized are at risk for developing serious infectious diseases. Infants and young children are very vulnerable to infectious diseases.There are small risks associated with vaccinations. People who are not immunized increase the chances of spreading disease to others.Some clinics offer free immunizations. Immunizations help by making the body's immune system stronger. Without immunizations, the diseases that we are currently protected from will reappear and cause sickness, disability and death.
  2. It is important that you keep a record of your immunizations.

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