Every year, tens of thousands of Americans get sick from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. Some people who become ill from vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) are hospitalized and some even die. Immunizations are the best way to protect against these diseases. Vaccines are recommended for children, teens, and adults based on different factors like age, health conditions, lifestyle, jobs, and travel.
Why Are Immunizations Important?
- Vaccinations can help protect people from VPDs and some of the serious complications associated with these diseases.
- Having a higher percent of the population vaccinated against VPDs can reduce the ability of these diseases to spread (herd immunity).
- Vaccinations are especially important in protecting those who are most vulnerable to illness, including infants and young children, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.
- Some VPDs (like polio and diphtheria) are becoming rare in the United States largely because of vaccines. However vaccination needs to continue until these diseases are eliminated (zero cases), otherwise these diseases can make a come back.
- VPDs are still active in other countries and can be brought into the United States from a simple plane ride.
What Diseases Can Vaccines Prevent?
- Haemophilus influenzae Type b (HIB)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (flu)
- Meningococcal Disease
- Pertussis (whopping cough)
- Pneumococcal Disease (pnuemonia)
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
Are Vaccines Safe?
Vaccines are safe. There may be occasional side effects, such as pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Although extremely rare, a severe reaction may occur in people who are allergic to any component of the vaccine. Some individuals (such as pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems) are advised not to get certain vaccines. Consult with your health care provider before receiving any vaccinations.
Vaccines for Infants and Children
There are many vaccines recommended for infants and children. Some of these vaccines are now required for school entry. Here are some guidelines for parents:
- Find a health care provider for your child that you feel comfortable with and establish a long-lasting relationship.
- Keep the yellow vaccination card in a safe place and take it with you every time your child sees the health care provider.
- Ask the health care provider if your child is up-to-date on his/her vaccines at each doctor's visit.
- Talk to your health care provider about putting immunization records in the California Immunization Registry.
Low cost immunizations are offered by the Sacramento County Immunization Assistance Program for children (18 years and younger) without insurance coverage. No child will be turned away even if parents cannot afford to pay for them.
Vaccines for Pre-Teens, Teens, and Adults
Recommended vaccines are also available for pre-teens/teens and adults since they are also at risk of getting sick with VPDs, such as meningococcal disease, mumps, pertussis (whopping cough), influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and pneumonia. Consult with your health care providers before receiving any vaccinations.
Vaccines for Pregnant Women
Certain vaccines are recommended for pregnant women, such as the influenza and pertussis (whopping cough) vaccines. However there are certain vaccines that pregnant women should not get. Consult with your health care provider before receiving any vaccinations.
Vaccines for Travelers
Persons traveling to other countries should receive recommended vaccines depending on the type of VPDs that are most common in that country. Some vaccines require several doses so it is important to plan ahead and get vaccinated before traveling. Consult with your health care provider before receiving any vaccinations.