Why Do We Vaccinate?

Here are important facts about each disease that we vaccinate against in children. You can click on the disease and see a short video describing what those diseases actually look like. It is important to know why vaccines have been developed and what people are really risking by not vaccinating.

Why Do We Vaccinate?

Vaccines 101

Vaccine Side Effects

Vaccine Ingredients

Herd Immunity is important to understand. Without the help of each other, some of us are not very well protected.



  • Children have trouble breathing and swallowing, attacks heart/kidneys/nerves
  • Transmitted person-to-person for up to 2-6 weeks if untreated and 4 days if treated.
  • Symptoms usually develop as early as 2-7 days after exposure, but can be longer.
  • Immunized people can still spread it, but they will likely by asymptomatic.
  • Rate of infection went from 150,000 cases per year to 2 per year with vaccination
  • Treatment is antitoxin received IV with 5-20% allergic reaction rate (vaccine allergic reaction is 1 in 1 million) for fast treatment (patient can deteriorate fast) or 14 days of antibiotic therapy.


  • Lockjaw, severe muscle spasms, fever
  • Transmitted through contaminated soil or feces
  • Symptoms develop within 2 days to months after exposure (average of 14 days)
  • Treatment is Human Tetanus Immune Globulin. Tetanus vaccine may help protect against latent effects. Treatment will only help prevent the disease from attacking the nervous system. Once symptoms develop, there is only supportive care. 3-4 in 10 will die if they are infected.
  • Symptoms, including spasms, persist for a week and subside over several weeks for those who recover.


  • 100 day cough that can cause enough coughing to break your own rib, result in nose bleads, respiratory failure in babies and young children
  • 8 out of 10 non-immune people can get infected if in close contact with a person who is infected.
  • Hard to diagnose since earlier symptoms are similar to that of a cold.
  • Infants <6 months have 22% chance of pneumonia, 2% chance of seizures, <0.5% chance of encephalopathy. 1% of infants <2 months old will die of pertussis.
  • Symptoms develop within 5-21 days of exposure (7-10 day average)
  • Treatment is antibiotics (including automatic hospitalization for <6 mos of age). Once the “whooping” cough develops, antibiotics will only help prevent the spread of the disease. It will NOT help treat the symptoms.


  • 1-2% of people infected with polio will develop paralytic symptoms, 1-5% will develop meningitis.
  • Transmitted through fecal, oral and respiratory routes.
  • Symptoms develop within 3-6 days, but can take up to 21 days for paralytic symptoms to develop.
  • There is no treatment.


  • Invasive pneumococcal disease (meningitis, pneumonia, bacteremia, bone and joint infections) affects 145 of 100,000 <2 years of age, 72 of 100,000 for children < 5 years.
  • Other manifestations of the bacterial infection include ear infections, sinus infections, cellulitis, pink eye.
  • 75% of children and 25% of teens are colonized with the bacteria at any given time. Transmission is via respiratory droplets.
  • Symptoms result within 1-3 days of exposure
  • Treatment is antibiotics. Airway establishment, joint fluid removal and hospital stay may be required based on site of infection.

Haemophilus influenza type B 

  • Can cause pneumonia, blood infection, meningitis, epiglottitis, septic joint infection, cellulitis, ear infection, heart infection, infection of the bone. Before the vaccine, there were 20,000 cases of invasive disease per year resulting in 3-6% death rate.
  • 40-80% of children are carriers of the disease and is transmitted via respiratory droplets.
  • Treatment: antibiotics. Airway establishment, joint fluid removal and hospital stay may be required based on site of infection.


  • Most common cause of diarrhea for children under 5. Symptoms last 3-8 days. Severe cases can result in dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities, acidosis.
  • Symptoms develop within 2-4 days of exposure.
  • 1 in 70 are hospitalized, 1 in 200,000 die from the disease in 1st world countries.
  • There is no treatment except for iv fluids to help with rehydration.

Hepatitis B

  • Develops into chronic Hepatitis B when babies are infected. 1 in 4 babies will die of liver failure or liver cancer as adults.
  • It is transmitted through blood (blood transfusion, passing through infected birth canal, sharing of blood contaminated washcloths/toothbrushes/razors). Before the vaccine, 18,000 child
  • Symptoms develop 45-160 days with an average of 90 days.
  • There is no treatment for the disease.

Hepatitis A

  • Causes inflammation of the liver, fever, jaundice, nausea and vomiting.
  • Transmitted through fecal-oral route in daycares, buffets, contaminated water.
  • Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure with an average of 30 days.
  • Prior to the vaccine, 26,000 cases were reported yearly.
  • Children older than 6 will usually be symptomatic compared to only 30% of children under 6. The symptoms can last as long as 6 months (almost like a really long case of Mono).
  • There is no treatment for this disease.


  • Causes fever and itchy blisters. 1 out of every 1000 children infected will develop pneumonia or encephalitis. 1 in 50 women infected during pregnancy will deliver a child with a birth defect (mental retardation, shortened/atrophied limbs). Some will even develop Group A strep infection, commonly known as “flesh-eating” bacteria. Symptoms are worse if disease is contracted in children 12 and older.
  • Chickenpox is very contagious. There is about an 85% chance an unimmunized patient will develop chickenpox when in contact with the disease. Symptoms develop 14-16 days after exposure.
  • Antiviral therapy may be beneficial if started within 72 hours of onset of rash, but this is not recommended for healthy children under 12 years of age. Post exposure immunization if given within 72-120 hours after exposure may help prevent or modify the disease.



  • Common symptoms include high fever, rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body, bluish white spots in mouth, pink eye.
  • Spread through respiratory droplets. 90% of unimmunized people will get infected if in contact with somebody who has measles. The infection lingers as well. So, if a person with measles is in an elevator and an unimmunized person steps into that elevator 2 hours later, they can get measles.
  • Complications occur in every 3 out of 10 cases: ear infection, pneumonia, brain swelling, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), hemorrhagic measles, clotting disorder, death.
  • SSPE can occur years after contracting the disease and always fatal.
  • There is no treatment.


  • Virus that causes swelling of salivary or parotid glands lasting for about 7-10 days, meningitis resulting in deafness, infertility in boys if it infects the testicles.
  • Symptoms develop 16-18 days after exposure but can occur 12-25 days.
  • Infection is spread through respiratory tract secretions.


  • Although postnatal Rubella disease is not as dangerous, but congenital Rubella can affect vision, hearing, mental retardation, growth retardation, hepatosplenomegaly, thrombocytopenia. There is an 85% of developing these problems if mother develops the Rubella rash during the first trimester, 54% during 13-16 weeks of gestation, 25% during the end of the second trimester.
  • Symotoms develop 14-23 days after exposure.
  • There is no treatment.


  • Fever, chills, malaise, prostration and rash are usually the first symptoms with rapid progression to death if not treated. 10% of adolescents will die from the disease once symptoms develop.
  • Symptoms develop within 1-10 days of exposure.
  • Disease is spread through respiratory droplets and often occurs in dorm, camp or barrack settings.
  • Treatment is with IV antibiotics.

Human Papilloma Virus

  • Warts that can turn into cancerous lesions.
  • Transmitted through any type of sexual encounter or genital to genital contact.
  • Most common STD with twenty million Americans currently infected with HPV and an additional 6 million Americans are infected every year. Half of those newly infected with HPV are between 15 and 24 years of age.
  • 26,000 HPV-associated cancers occur every year affecting the cervix, penis, anus, head and neck.
  • Babies can be infected by passing through an infected birth canal. This can result in a fatal infection of the windpipe.
  • Symptoms can develop 3 months to several years after exposure.
  • Treatment includes eliminating the lesion, but only if caught early.


  • Symptoms include runny nose, cough, high fever, chills, muscles aches and headaches. Complications include severe, sometimes fatal pneumonia.
  • Transmitted the respiratory droplets, some strains can be found in birds, pigs, horses, dogs, cats.
  • Epidemics occur every year but pandemics (widespread due to lack of immunity to a new strain) occur 3 times every century. The last one was in 2009. 4-6 million people die on average, although the pandemic of 1918 killed 50-100million people.
  • The flu vaccine does not cause the flu and you are not “addicted” to the vaccine if you get it one year. The flu virus is very sneaky and changes or mutates so that it can turn into a “new” flu virus. This results in requiring us to get a different flu shot every year.