Immunizations are designed to protect against serious illnesses ranging from polio and tetanus to measles, mumps, and the seasonal flu. Immunizations are vaccines made of either weakened or “killed” versions of the bacteria or virus that causes a particular disease. When these altered viruses and bacteria are injected or taken orally, the immune system mounts an attack that stimulates the body to produce antibodies. Once produced, the antibodies remain active in the body, ready to fight off the real disease. For example, if a whooping cough broke out in your area, an immunized child would be much less likely to contract the disease than one who wasn’t immunized
Hepatitis A, to protect against hepatitis A, which can cause the liver disease hepatitis
Hepatitis B, to protect against hepatitis B, which can cause the liver disease hepatitis
HPV, to protect against human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and a cause of genital warts and cervical, anal, and throat cancers
Meningococcal, to protect against meningococcal disease, the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in U.S. children in pre-vaccine days
Polio (IPV), to protect against polio
Rotavirus, (given orally, not as an injection) to protect against rotavirus, which can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration
Every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices publishes a new schedule showing which vaccines are recommended and when to get them. If your child is behind on immunizations, ask your doctor about the “catch-up” schedule.