A vaccine is a substance that’s been concocted from an infectious organism, i.e. bacteria or virus. The infection producers in vaccines don’t have the ability to cause a serious illness, but are capable of stimulating your immune system cells to produce antibodies.
Vaccination is the introduction of a vaccine into your body. And immunization is the process of inducing immunity against a particular infectious disease.
Infectious disease prevention and eradication is the point of a vaccine. It’s much better to prevent rather than treat. And the more widespread the immunizations, the less the opportunity a pathogen has to spread and multiply.
These are the infectious disease prevention vaccines available in the US, some of which are not routinely given:
- yellow fever
- rubella, measles
- viral hepatitis A & B
- Japanese encephalitis
- hib ~ causes bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, epiglottitis
- meningococcal ~ causes meningitis, severe blood infection
- pneumococcal ~ causes pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis
The vaccine for Lyme disease is no longer available because of low demand. If you received a vaccination, don’t expect life long immunization. And smallpox vaccinations are is no longer given because this infectious disease is believed to be eradicated.
Any vaccine can cause side effects. Vaccination caused minor discomforts you might experience for a couple of days are a rash, sore injection site or mild fever. And it’s exceptionally rare to have a serious reaction to a vaccine.