Why does my son or daughter need to be immunized if the disease has been eliminated?

Diseases that are rare or nonexistent in the United States, like measles and polio, still exist in other parts of the world. Doctors continue to vaccinate against them because it’s easy to come into contact with illnesses through travel — either when Americans travel abroad or when people who aren’t properly immunized come to the United States. If immunization rates fell, a disease introduced by someone visiting from another country or returning home from a foreign country could cause serious damage in an unprotected population. In 2008, an outbreak of measles sickened many in San Diego, California, after a family who had taken a European vacation returned home with their unvaccinated child, who had contracted measles. In 2011, low immunization rates contributed to the largest whooping cough epidemic California had seen in 50 years, when more than 9,000 people contracted the illness and 10 babies died.nIt’s only safe to stop vaccinations for a particular disease when that disease has been eradicated worldwide, as in the case of smallpox.

I hear that some vaccine preventable diseases are no longer around in the U.S. Why do we need to still be vaccinated against them?

• While many vaccine preventable diseases are at very low levels in the United States, only smallpox has been eliminated. Vaccines are why we are seeing lowe levels of infections in the United States. There are numerous examples where populations in the US have stopped or decreased vaccination rates and the disease rate soon rises. As an example, in numerous cases of measles outbreaks, it has been shown that people not vaccinated against measles had a 20 time increased risk of infection compared to people who had been vaccinated In the U.S. there is a Recommended Vaccine Schedule published annually that provides the recommended list of vaccines for children and adults to receive. These diseases are not seen as often anymore because vaccines work!n• We live in a global society. Traveling/relocating around the world happens every day. Many of these vaccine preventable diseases still occur frequently around the world. It is important that those who can be vaccinated, be fully immunized and on time with their immunizations to protect themselves, their families, and their community. n• For example in 2017 there have been outbreaks of Measles and Polio in Africa, Measles and Mumps in the U.S., Polio and Measles in Pakistan, and Whooping Cough and Measles in Southeast Asia. Additionally in 2014 a Measles Outbreak in Ohio was caused by unvaccinated Amish travelers returning from the Philippines.

Are vaccines continuously studied and improved because they’re unsafe?

The FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research is the government agency responsible for regulating vaccines in the United States. Working in conjunction with the CDC and the NIH, they continuously research and monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness. New vaccines are licensed only after thorough laboratory studies and clinical trials, and safety monitoring continues even after a vaccine has been approved. There have been — and will continue to be — improvements (such as those that have already been made to the DTaP and polio vaccines, for example) that will minimize potential side effects and ensure the best possible safety standards.

What is shedding?

This means that when a person is infected with a germ (virus, bacteria or fungus), and the germ is present in your bodily fluids (saliva, mucus, stool, blood), there is potential to spread the illness to others (sneezing, coughing). Essentially, this is what makes a person with an infection (viral, bacterial, fungal) contagious.

Where can I get afforable immunizations for my son or daughter?

Clearly, vaccines are one of the best tools we have to keep kids healthy, but the effectiveness of immunization programs depends on availability. You can receive inexpensive or free vaccines through many local public health clinics and community health centers, and campaigns to vaccinate kids often hold free vaccination days. A program called Vaccines for Children covers Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, Alaskan and Native American populations, and some underinsured kids for routine immunizations up to 18 years of age. The vaccines are provided by the government and administered in a doctor’s office. However, the doctor’s visit itself is not covered (unless the child has insurance, including Medicaid). But some public health clinics may cover both the visit and the immunizations.

What is vaccine shedding?

The same idea as above and may occur with live weakened vaccines only. However, this type of shedding should not cause disease. Live weakened vaccines develop immunity without the risks of natural infection.

Should I believe what I see on the web about immunizations?

Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, confirm that the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis. CDC’s vaccines and immunization web content is researched, written and approved by subject matter experts, including physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, and analysts. Content is based on peer-reviewed science. CDC leadership makes the final decision on the words, images and links to best serve the information needs of the public as well as healthcare providers, public health professionals, partners, educators, and researchers. Science and public health data are frequently updated. Most pages are reviewed yearly.

Do all vaccines shed?

The potential for vaccine shedding only occurs with live weakened vaccines, and shedding may occur for a few days. The key is that the virus is weakened, so if shedding does occur it should not cause disease in the vaccinated person or anyone they have been in contact with.

Are immunizations safe?

Yes! Immunizations are thoroughly studied before they are licensed for public use. Vaccines, before they are approved in the United States go through a rigorous process to assess their safety. The link the the brochure below describes the entire process, and also the continued evaluation of vaccines. Clinical trials are conducted to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of any single or combination vaccine before it can be brought to the market. Once a vaccine is introduced, there is a strong system in place to continuously monitor its safety. Vaccine safety is a shared responsibility among the federal government, state and local health departments, other partners and the public. To help meet this shared responsibility, government agencies and their partners have established several coordinated systems to monitor the safety of vaccines after they have been licensed for public use. These systems, such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), are used together to help scientists continuously monitor issues.