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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.

Recommended Related to Children's Vaccines

Helping Kids Who Fear Vaccines

When your young child whimpers at the mention of the word "shot," you probably have mixed feelings. You want your son to be protected by his vaccinations; you just wish that the procedure was pain-free. "Vaccines protect the health and well-being of children, but children don't understand that," says Deborah Wexler, MD, executive director of the Immunization Action Coalition, a national organization based in St. Paul, Minn. "It can be really hard for them to come in for their shots." Fortunately,...

Read the Helping Kids Who Fear Vaccines article > >

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 15, 2013
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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