Vaccines work by exposing the body to a small, weakened or dead form of the pathogen (virus, bacteria, etc.) that causes a particular disease. This exposure triggers the immune system to produce antibodies against the pathogen, which can help to protect against future infections with the actual pathogen.
Some examples of communicable or infectious diseases that can be prevented with vaccines include:
- Measles: This highly contagious viral disease can cause fever, rash, and potentially serious complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and even death. The measles vaccine is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and is recommended for all children.
- Polio: This viral disease can cause paralysis and even death. The polio vaccine has been very effective in eradicating polio in many parts of the world.
- Hepatitis B: This viral infection can cause liver damage, liver cancer, and even death. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants and children, as well as for adults who are at high risk for the disease.
- Influenza: This respiratory illness is caused by the influenza virus, which can mutate rapidly, leading to new strains of the virus that are not covered by previous vaccines. As a result, the influenza vaccine must be updated each year to match the current strains of the virus.
Overall, vaccination requirements are an important tool in preventing the spread of communicable or infectious diseases and protecting public health.