An overwhelming majority of health professionals, medical researchers, and professional medical organizations (such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice Physicians) recommend immunization. Getting immunized is important for at least two reasons: to protect yourself and to protect those around you. Vaccines are the best way we have to prevent infectious disease. A successful immunization program depends on the cooperation of every person.
Improved sanitation, hygiene, and other living conditions have created a generally healthier environment and reduced the risks for disease exposure and infection in the United States. But the dramatic and long-term decrease of diseases is primarily a result of widespread immunizations throughout the U.S. population.
Even though some diseases, such as polio, rarely affect people in the U.S., all of the recommended childhood immunizations and booster vaccines are still needed. These diseases still exist in other countries. Travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the U.S. and infect people who have not been immunized. Without the protection from immunizations, these diseases could be imported and could quickly spread through the population, causing epidemics. Nonimmunized people living in healthy conditions are not protected from disease. Your body's immune system can fight a disease better and faster if you have had the infection before or if you get immunized.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||William Atkinson, MD, MPH - Public Health and Preventive Medicine|
|Last Revised||February 16, 2012|
Last Revised: February 16, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
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