A vaccine is a form of medication that is intended to prevent a disease rather than cure or treat it. The medicine present in a vaccine is actually the germ itself that has been killed or weakened to the point that it does not cause illness. Rather, the vaccine causes the body to produce antibodies to defend itself against the disease as if the person actually has it. This creates a situation where the body is able to fight off the infection if it is ever exposed to the germ at a later time.
Types of Vaccines
There is a wide range of vaccines available to prevent specific diseases or a combination of diseases, ranging from chickenpox to hepatitis to measles. Doctors typically recommend that children receive a number of vaccines in early childhood, starting with a hepatitis vaccine at birth and continuing over the next couple of years. Some vaccines, like those for tetanus, will need to be given throughout life at regular intervals to continue to prevent infection (every 10 years in the case of tetanus). And the flu vaccine is recommended every year for most people to prevent getting that season’s strain of the flu virus. There are also vaccinations that are only recommended for the elderly, like for shingles.
Risks of Vaccines
Some parents have concerns about the vaccines that their children receive, particularly when some doctor visits require a baby getting three or four shots at once. Some people believe that vaccines increase the chances of a child developing autism. But many major health organizations have performed large studies and reviews in recent years and rejected any link between vaccines and autism. Vaccines are considered to be safe, and serious adverse side effects to vaccinations are very rare.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Combination strategy fully protects lab monkeys, studies find
Program will also save $350 billion in health care costs by 2020, study says
'Herd immunity' effect shows U.S. females now less likely to contract the cancer-causing virus
By late October is best, says American Academy of Pediatrics
Flu shot recommendations for the 2017-2018 season.
Overall child immunization rates fell after CDC advised against the inhaled form, study shows
Who should get it, and at what age
Classrooms, locker rooms and dormitories are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, expert says
Shot should come within 24 hours of delivery, and not at first checkup
Findings add to evidence of safety of childhood immunizations, pediatricians say
But rates still lagging against the cancer-causing virus that's caused by sexual contact, CDC says
Giving just one shot instead of two may be better way to control outbreaks, researcher suggests
Study found even if pregnant women later hear better info from docs, they may still wait on immunizations
Virus a common cause of diarrhea among children, study authors report
The shots are effective in killing the main bacterial cause, but other germs are growing, researchers find
The rate of ear infections in young children is declining, new study finds
Study rebuts concerns about multiple vaccination timing
Before kids head back to school, make sure they're up-to-date on their vaccines
A 5 percent drop in coverage could trigger a tripling of measles cases in young kids, study finds
Their rapid reaction to immunization makes them potential guinea pigs, study suggests
15 countries have reported outbreaks so far this year
More than 1 in 3 don't know when their teen's next shot is due, survey finds
A mouse study shows the vaccines protected unborn baby mice from the virus
More research is needed on effects in primates and humans, researcher says
Study shows that routine meningitis shot may offer at least some protection
Agency head calls persistent geographic gap a 'significant public health problem'
Early results look promising for dissolvable microneedle vaccine
Don't leave home without them
Cardiologists call the results 'exciting,' but stress that only research in humans can confirm the findings
Humans can't catch it, but new canine virus can make your pet 'sick as a dog'
Immune cells that guard against the virus don't function properly, researchers say
Just one dose provided 100 percent protection, researcher says
Researchers hope it will prove as effective in human tests and become an aid for recovering addicts
Findings back up new CDC recommendations for kids
Study finds the cervical cancer vaccine cuts infection for viruses tied to oral, head and neck cancers
Discovery of critical human antibodies may put scientists closer to new vaccines, treatments
Though the disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, foreign travel can still bring it home today
But human protection is still years away, researcher says
Brazil outbreak of mosquito-borne illness has officials worried, and transmission to U.S. is possible
The shots have cut disease rates so low that some parents underestimate the threat, doctors say
Flu shot study showed that healthy vaccination practices may run in the family
In a twist, the middle-aged were among those hardest hit, CDC says
Combo therapy may also extend survival of glioblastoma patients, but more research needed
Study suggests harmless viruses may set stage for immune system response to the grain protein gluten
But vaccine should turn the tide against virus that can cause cancer, sexual health expert says
Researchers estimate about two-thirds of pediatric deaths could be prevented by flu shot
Benefit is dramatic for newborns who are too young to be vaccinated, researchers say
Flu vaccine decreases risk of death in children and adolescents, study finds.
Accidental exposure after conception isn't linked to risks for baby, researchers say
Plus, 90,000 fewer deaths would occur by 2030, study authors estimate