Immunizations save lives. They are the best way to help protect you or your child from getting certain diseases that can be spread to other people (infectious diseases). And there are often no medical treatments for these diseases.
They also help reduce the spread of disease to others to prevent sudden outbreaks of the disease, called epidemics. Preventing the spread of disease is very important for people with weak immune systems. These people may not be able to get vaccines, or vaccines don't work well for them. Their only protection is for others to get vaccinated so illnesses are less common.
People sometimes ask if babies don't get natural protection from disease from their mothers. And during the last few weeks of pregnancy, mothers do give their babies some protection against disease. But it is only for diseases that the mother is protected against. The protection the baby gets doesn't last very long.
There are many other reasons why vaccines are important:
- They cost less than getting treated for the disease.
- The risk of getting a disease is much greater than the risk of having a serious reaction to the vaccine.
- They are often needed for entrance into school or day care. And you may need them for your job or for travel to another country.
- They prevent days out of work or school due to illness or caring for a sick person.
- They may help stop preventable diseases from coming back.
- If a disease occurs in a community, there is little or no risk of an outbreak if people have been immunized.
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine