Vaccines are an important and safe way to keep you healthy. Most vaccine-preventable diseases are caused by germs that are called viruses or bacteria. Vaccines to help prevent these diseases generally contain weakened or killed viruses or bacteria specific to the disease. Vaccines help your body recognize and fight these germs and protect you each time you come in contact with someone who is sick with any of these diseases. There are a series of steps that your body goes through to develop immunity through vaccination:
- First - a vaccine with weakened or killed viruses or bacteria is given by a shot (influenza vaccine may be given by a nasal spray and rotavirus vaccine is given by mouth).
- Next - over the next few weeks your body makes antibodies and memory cells against the weakened or dead germs in the vaccine.
- Then - the antibodies can fight the real disease if you are exposed to the disease germs and they invade your body. The antibodies will help destroy the germs so you won't get sick.
- Finally - antibodies and memory cells stay on guard in your body for years after you're vaccinated to protect you from the disease. This protection is called immunity.
There are hundreds of doctors and health care providers in Connecticut that participate in the Connecticut Vaccine Program (CVP) and can give your child the vaccines he or she needs. If your regular health care provider does not participate in the CVP or your child does not have a regular health care provider, call (860) 509-7929 to find a CVP provider near you.
Remember, while the vaccine is available at no cost, your health care provider may charge a fee for giving your child the vaccine.
When to get your child vaccinated
Making sure your child gets vaccinated at the right age is very important for their health. It's even more important that your child gets the immunizations he or she needs by the age of 2 years old. This is because serious illness is most likely to happen in the first two years of a child’s life.