How Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines are an essential part of your child’s preventive care. They protect kids from contracting diseases, like polio and whooping cough, that once caused devastating long-term illness, serious complications, and even death. Plus, vaccinating your child helps protect the community from these diseases, too. 

At First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, Margaret Lubega, MD ensures your child gets all the necessary vaccinations and boosters at the correct stages of development. 

Here’s how these vaccines work to protect your child.

What does it mean to be immune?

A vaccine, or immunization, protects you from a specific infection. Dangerous germs and pathogens continue to circulate in the environment, but vaccines make it so these germs have little or no effect on you.

“Immunity” refers to this state of being protected from particular diseases.

How do vaccines create immunity?

Vaccines help your immune system recognize specific, dangerous germs in the environment so it can build up resistance to them. 

Vaccines contain dead or weakened versions of pathogens. When introduced to your child, they stimulate their immune system to fight against it and help keep your child healthy. What makes vaccines unique as opposed to infection with the disease is that they don’t cause serious illness in the body. Despite this, they still help your child’s body develop antibodies to fight the pathogen. 

Some vaccines that contain weakened versions of the pathogen may cause mild side effects that resemble illness, such as a low-grade fever and fatigue, in your child. Dr. Lubega reviews these with you before your child receives the vaccine and gives you information about when you should be concerned and contact us. 

What vaccines does my child need?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a schedule of vaccinations for children from infancy until adolescence. 

This schedule includes vaccinations to protect against:

These vaccines are provided at different stages of your child’s growth. We’ll let you know which ones are coming up at your next well-child visit.

Why does my child need boosters?

Vaccines create a memory in your immune system when it comes to certain pathogens. The strength of its memory about each particular germ depends on the makeup of the germ and the type of vaccine used. 

In some cases, your child needs more than one dose of a vaccine or regular boosters to remind the immune system about the germ. 

In a case like the flu, the exact makeup of the virus changes every year, so you need a new vaccine each flu season to ward off the most recent version. 

If your child is due for a vaccine or you simply want a review of the recommended vaccine schedule, call First Pediatric Care Center for an appointment. Also reach out if you’re not certain which vaccines your has already child received. We can help figure it out and make sure your child gets up to date.

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