Why Do We Get Shots?

When you get sick, your body generates antibodies to fight the disease and help you get better. These antibodies stay in your body even after the disease has gone, and protect you from getting the same illness again. This is called immunity. You do not have to get sick to develop immunity; you can be given a vaccine.

A vaccine is a substance that primes the body's immune system to create antibodies, T-cells and memory cells which are the body's defense against infection. When you are vaccinated you actually build up your immune system, making you stronger and more resistant to disease as you grow. Vaccines are the best way to protect you and your family against very serious infections.

Immunization protects people from disease by introducing a vaccine into the body that triggers an antibody response as if you had been exposed to a disease naturally. The vaccine contains the same antigens or parts of antigens that cause the disease, but the antigens in vaccines are either killed or greatly weakened. Vaccines work because they trick your body so that it thinks it is being attacked by a disease. Immunity through immunization happens without the consequence of being ill and without the risk of potential life-threatening complications from the disease. Memory cells prevent re-infection when they encounter that disease again in the future. However, not all vaccines provide lifelong immunity. Diseases such as tetanus require booster doses every ten years for adults to maintain immunity.

Shots may hurt a little, but the diseases they can prevent are a lot worse. Some are even life-threatening. Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential. The vaccine schedule is designed to ensure that children receive vaccines at the optimal time to protect them from infectious diseases. The schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to tweaks of current recommendations.

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