It’s important for parents and caregivers to understand the benefits of recommended vaccinations while also taking advantage of regular health screenings for you and your loved ones (routine checkups, blood work, sick visits, sports physicals, etc.).
Importance of Vaccines
For decades, immunizations have saved millions of lives and helped prevent countless illnesses and disabilities in the United States. Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough continue to be a threat while infecting U.S. children, resulting in hospitalizations and deaths every year.
Improved sanitation, hygiene, and other living conditions have created an overall healthier environment and reduced the risks for disease exposure and infection in the United States. But the dramatic and long-term decline of diseases is primarily a result of widespread immunizations throughout the U.S. population.
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases® encourages people of all ages to get their recommended immunizations for ten important reasons:
1. Vaccine-preventable diseases haven’t gone away
The viruses and bacteria that cause illness and death still exist and can be passed on to those who are not protected by vaccines. In a time when people can travel across the globe in just one day, it’s not hard to see just how easily diseases can travel too.
2. Vaccines will help keep you healthy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations from birth through adulthood to provide a lifetime of protection against many diseases and infections, such as influenza, pneumococcal disease, human papillomavirus, and hepatitis A and B. Yet many individuals are not vaccinated as recommended, leaving them needlessly vulnerable to illness and long-term suffering.3.
3. Vaccines are as important to your overall health as diet and exercise
Like eating right, exercising, and getting regular screenings for diseases such as colon and breast cancer, vaccines can also play a vital role in keeping you healthy. Vaccines are one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available.
4. Vaccination can mean the difference between life and death
In the US, vaccine-preventable infections kill more individuals annually than HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, or traffic accidents. Approximately 50,000 adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases in the US.
5. Vaccines are safe and effective
Vaccines are among the safest medical products available and can prevent the suffering and costs associated with infectious diseases. The potential risks associated with the diseases that vaccines prevent are much greater than the potential risks from the vaccines themselves.
6. Vaccines won’t give you the disease they are designed to prevent.
You cannot “catch” the disease from the vaccine. Some vaccines contain “killed” virus, and it is impossible to get the disease from them. Others have live, but weakened, viruses designed to ensure that you cannot catch the disease.
7. Young and healthy people can get very sick, too.
Infants and the elderly are at greater risk for serious infections and complications, but vaccine-preventable diseases can strike anyone. If you’re young and healthy, getting vaccinated can help you stay that way.
8. Vaccine-preventable diseases are expensive.
Diseases not only have a direct impact on individuals and their families, but also carry a high price tag for society as a whole, exceeding $10 billion per year in direct and indirect costs. An average influenza illness can last up to 15 days, typically with five or six missed work days.
9. When you get sick, your children, grandchildren, and parents are at risk, too.
A vaccine-preventable disease that might make you sick for a week or two could prove deadly for your children, grandchildren, or parents if it spreads to them. In general, vaccine-preventable diseases are more serious for the very young and the very old. So when you get vaccinated to protect yourself, you’re protecting your family as well.
10. Your family and coworkers need you.
Each year, millions of adults get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases, causing them to miss work and leaving them unable to care for those who depend on them, including their children and/or aging parents.