Why get vaccinated?
Vaccines can prevent disease. Childhood vaccination is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)
- Diphtheria (D) can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death.
- Tetanus (T) causes painful stiffening of the muscles. Tetanus can lead to serious health problems, including being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing and breathing, or death.
- Pertussis (aP), also known as "whooping cough," can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes it hard to breathe, eat, or drink. Pertussis can be extremely serious especially in babies and young children, causing pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, or death. In teens and adults, it can cause weight loss, loss of bladder control, passing out, and rib fractures from severe coughing.
Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) disease
Haemophilus influenzae type b can cause many different kinds of infections. These infections usually affect children under 5 years of age but can also affect adults with certain medical conditions. Hib bacteria can cause mild illness, such as ear infections or bronchitis, or they can cause severe illness, such as infections of the blood. Severe Hib infection, also called "invasive Hib disease," requires treatment in a hospital and can sometimes result in death.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can cause mild illness lasting a few weeks, or it can lead to a serious, lifelong illness. Acute hepatitis B infection is a short-term illness that can lead to fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements), and pain in the muscles, joints, and stomach. Chronic hepatitis B infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis B virus remains in a person's body. Most people who go on to develop chronic hepatitis B do not have symptoms, but it is still very serious and can lead to liver damage (cirrhosis), liver cancer, and death.
Polio (or poliomyelitis) is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by poliovirus, which can infect a person's spinal cord, leading to paralysis. Most people infected with poliovirus have no symptoms, and many recover without complications. Some people will experience sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, or stomach pain.
A smaller group of people will develop more serious symptoms: paresthesia (feeling of pins and needles in the legs), meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain), or paralysis (can't move parts of the body) or weakness in the arms, legs, or both. Paralysis can lead to permanent disability and death.
Pneumococcal disease refers to any illness caused by pneumococcal bacteria. These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. Besides pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (infection of the blood). Most pneumococcal infections are mild. However, some can result in long-term problems, such as brain damage or hearing loss. Meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia caused by pneumococcal disease can be fatal.