Vaccine Education Center

A Look at Each Vaccine

Please choose from the list on the left to learn more about a specific vaccine and the disease it prevents.

Although over 25,000 cases of pertussis (or whooping cough) are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) every year, and influenza remains a common childhood infection, most diseases prevented by vaccines are relatively rare. If vaccine-preventable diseases are rare, then the benefits of vaccines are not as great as they were several decades ago. Therefore, it is worth re-examining the benefits and risks of each vaccine to determine if they are still of value.

In this section we will discuss the risks and benefits of all vaccines routinely recommended for children. Although we will discuss each vaccine individually, several combination vaccines are available:

Other vaccines, such as pneumococcus, are currently given individually, but new combinations are being studied.

We will also describe vaccines recommended for use only in special circumstances such as those that prevent rabies, tuberculosis, and anthrax.

Finally, we will describe vaccines occasionally used for travel to developing countries such as cholera, typhoid fever, yellow fever and Japanese Encephalitis virus vaccines. Also see Vaccines for Travelers.

Reviewed by: Paul A. Offit, MD 
Date: March 2013

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.

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