Not too many years ago, the most common causes of infant death were infections such as diphtheria, typhoid, and smallpox. All children were expected to get measles and whooping cough. Polio disabled or killed thousands of infants and children. Today, these diseases are extremely rare because immunizations effectively control them. There are many rumors and myths about the dangers of getting an immunization that are simply not true. Because of bad information, some parents do not believe that it is necessary for their child to be immunized. Unfortunately, every year children are still dying from infections that could have easily been prevented with a single immunization.

How do vaccines work?

When a child gets an infection, the immune system is responsible for finding the invaders (bacteria, viruses, etc.) and killing them. This takes some time during which the child may be very ill. After fighting off the infection, the child's immune system remembers what the invader looked like and prepares itself to kill it again if it should ever return. This is why most people only used to get chicken pox once. The immune system would recognize it the next time and kill the before it could make them sick. Vaccines are either killed or weakened versions of germs that cause a particular disease. The vaccines themselves are unable to cause infection, but the body's immune system can still recognize it as an invader. The immune system gets a chance to practice fighting the infection so that if it ever comes into contact with the real germ, the body can fight it off and the child doesn't get sick. Vaccines boost your child's immune system so they won't get sick from the diseases that used to cause serious illness or even death in many children.

What is the schedule?

Vaccine schedules are often changing as new vaccines become available. Be sure to keep track of which shots your child has had and make sure he/she gets all the immunizations he/she needs. Here is the NORTH CAROLINA link to childhood vaccinations Schedules and Tools:

For some common facts and myths about immunizations:

KidsHealth for Parents

For lots of other information on the web:
American Academy of Pediatrics Vaccine Page at
Vaccine Information from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia at
Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKID) at