Immunizations help protect you from disease. They also help reduce the spread of disease to others and prevent epidemics. Most are given as shots. They are sometimes called vaccines, or vaccinations.

In many cases when you get a vaccine, you get a tiny amount of a weakened or dead form of the organism that causes the disease. This amount is not enough to give you the actual disease, but it is enough to cause your immune system to make antibodies that can recognize and attack the organism if you are exposed to it.

Sometimes a vaccine does not completely prevent the disease, but it will make the disease much less serious if you do get it.

Some immunizations are given only one time. Others require several doses over time.

Why should you get immunized?

  • Immunizations protect you or your child from dangerous diseases.
  • They help reduce the spread of disease to others.
  • Getting immunized costs less than getting treated for the diseases that the shots protect you from.
  • Vaccines have very few serious side effects.
  • They are often needed for entrance into school or day care. And they may be needed for employment or for travel to another country.
  • Traveling to other countries may be another reason to get immunized. Talk with your doctor at least 6 weeks before you leave, to see if you need any shots.

Use the following links to learn more about immunizations relating to hepatitis A, hepatitis B and HPV:

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

HPV