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Vaccine Information Statements - Vaccine Basics

Vaccines help prevent people from getting sick. They also help reduce the spread of disease to others and prevent epidemics. There are many kinds of vaccines. Each vaccine is made up of parts of weakened or killed bacteria or viruses of a specific disease. After you have a vaccine, your body's immune system makes antibodies to fight the disease. If you are exposed to the same disease in the future, the antibodies kill the bacteria or viruses before they have a chance to make you sick.

If you get a vaccine, it may not completely prevent you from getting a disease, but it makes it much less likely. If you get a disease even after you have been vaccinated, it usually will be only a mild case.

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Vaccines are usually given by shot (injection). Some are given by mouth as a pill or liquid, or by a spray (aerosol) into the nose. Vaccines are also called immunizations.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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