Your immune system is designed to have a “memory” of previous infections. When your body encounters a microbe that has previously caused an infection, it enhances its production of white blood cells and antibodies to prevent infection a second time. When you get vaccinated, you “trick” your body into thinking that it has been infected by a particular microbe—thus boosting its own defenses against infection.
Why vaccination is important
The majority of Americans who die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases are adults. Get the shots you need to protect yourself. Vaccines are a very effective way to prevent the suffering (and costs) associated with vaccine-preventable infections, including the flu, pneumonia, human papillomavirus (HPV), and hepatitis B.
Vaccines are among the safest medical products available. The potential risks associated with the diseases these vaccines prevent are much greater than the potential risks associated with the vaccines themselves. The most common side effects are sore arms and low-grade fevers.
The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated each year. An annual flu vaccine is necessary because flu viruses are constantly changing. (It’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year.) The flu vaccine is formulated to keep up with the flu viruses as they change from year to year.
- Immunization schedules for everyone—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Vaccine safety—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Innovations expand types of seasonal flu vaccines—U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- 10 reasons to be vaccinated for adults—National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
- 10 reasons to be vaccinated for adolescents—National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
- Flu season is here infographic—Flu.gov
- Influenza—APIC consumer alert
- HPV—APIC consumer alert
- Herpes Zoster (shingles) vaccine—APIC consumer alert
- You never outgrow vaccines—APIC consumer alert
- Flu: What you can do: Caring for people at home—Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)
- Flu prevention, myths & facts infographic—University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
- Understanding vaccines—PublicHealth.org
- Booklet in eight languages teaches influenza home care—Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)