While the coronavirus vaccine is most on the mind today, vaccines for at least 27 diseases are now in use in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This includes vaccines to prevent mumps, measles, flu, pneumonia and more. Of the available vaccines for children and adults, 17 (in addition to those for Covid-19) are on the CDC’s recommended list for protection against particularly dangerous or deadly diseases, such as polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, tetanus and whooping cough. (Neither list has been updated to include covid-19).
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In addition, the World Health Organization says vaccines are now being developed to tackle at least 15 more diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria. A vaccine, usually given by injection (an injection), is a preparation that essentially teaches your immune system to identify and fight off harmful germs, such as viruses and bacteria, so you don’t get sick.
Determining which vaccines will benefit a particular person depends on things like age (older people are urged to get a shingles vaccine, for example) and upcoming trips that may expose you to diseases that are no longer common in the United States (such as cholera and smallpox).
Getting a vaccine protects an individual, but when enough people are vaccinated against a particular disease, it becomes more difficult for that disease to spread. That helps create what’s called herd immunity. It can also lead to near-extermination of a disease, which happened with polio in the United States.
On the other hand, a survey by the American Heart Association found that 60% of Americans say they can delay or skip a flu vaccination this year, which experts say will likely lead to a bad flu season. Among other negatives, the pandemic has led to a worrying drop in childhood vaccination rates.
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