• Infectious Diseases A-Z: Vaccines prevent diseases

a child having just received a vaccination shot
"Vaccinations prevent infections before they occur," says Dr. Vandana Bhide, a pediatrician and internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic. She says, "Childhood diseases, once thought to have been eradicated, such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough, are making a resurgence in the U.S." from waning immunity or lack of immunizations.

Watch: Dr. Vandana Bhide talks about vaccines.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites (1:35) are in the downloads.

Overall adult vaccination rates are also lower than desired, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which recently released the 2017 vaccine recommendations. Adult vaccination can provide protection from a number of diseases, including seasonal influenza, pneumonia, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), shingles, hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

"Vaccinations are one of the biggest advances that we’ve had in public health – more than all the antiviral treatments antibiotics," says Dr. Bhide. "Vaccines, in general, are very safe, very effective, and they protect against life-threatening illnesses."

Dr. Bhide says, "The best thing that you can do for you and your family is to protect yourself. See your doctor. See when it’s appropriate for you to be vaccinated for all of these vaccine-preventable illnesses."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a complete, easy-to-read schedule of recommended childhood and adult vaccinations.

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