Ask the VEC: Necessity of Vaccines

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Parents PACK

Q. We do not see many of the diseases vaccines prevent, so why do we still need vaccines?

A. Even though the incidence of diseases that vaccines prevent has been dramatically reduced or eliminated, vaccines are still needed for a few reasons.

  1. Some diseases, like pertussis, varicella and pneumococcus are common in the U.S.
  2. Diseases like measles, mumps, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) occur at low levels, but will quickly reappear if immunization rates drop even a little bit as illustrated by the 2015 measles outbreak in California.
  3. Diseases like polio and diphtheria have been eliminated from the U.S.; however, they are still common in other parts of the world. Because international travel is so common, these diseases are literally only a plane ride away.

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.