Health Department Articles/Press Releases

Immunizations Keep You on the Track to Good Health

Vaccines protect against serious disease.  These diseases still exist and outbreaks do occur.  Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives.  Vaccines are very safe.

Before a Baby is Born-Pregnant Moms

Vaccines are an important part of a health pregnancy.  Women should be up-to-date on their vaccines before becoming pregnant, and should receive vaccines against both the flu and whooping cough (pertussis) during pregnancy.  These vaccines not only protect the mother by preventing illnesses and complications but also pass on protection to her baby before birth.

  • Get off to a healthy start by making sure that your immunizations are up-to-date before becoming pregnant.
  • Pregnant women are more likely to become severely ill with the flu than women who are not pregnant.
  • By getting vaccinated during pregnancy, you can pass antibodies to your developing baby which can help protect him/her against diseases.
  • Babies in the first several months of life are at the greatest risk of severe illness from influenza and whooping cough but are too young to be immunized.  Vaccination during pregnancy is critical for protecting them.
  • Breastfeeding moms can also get some vaccinations.

Babies & Young Children

Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from serious diseases.  Parents can provide the best protection by following the recommended immunization schedule- giving their child the vaccines they need, when they need them.

  • Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their chidlren from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2 years old.
  • Children who don't receive recommended vaccines are at risk of 1) getting the disease or illness, and 2) having a severe case of the illness.
  • Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines and are vaccinating their children according to the recommended immunization schedule.
  • It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past.  Most young parents in the United States have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like measles or whooping cough can have on a family or community.  But the truth is, they still exist.  Talk to your doctor or other health care professional to make sure your children get the vaccinations they need when they need them.
  • Protecting your children from preventable diseases will help keep them healthy and in school.

School-Age Children

Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child's health.  Diseases can spread quickly among groups of children who aren't vaccinated.  Whether it's a baby starting a new child care facility, a toddler heading to preschool, a student entering kindergarten or heading back to elementary, middle or high school, parents should check their child's immunization record.  Child care facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are all prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases.  Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor handwashing, not covering their coughs, and other factors such as interacting in crowded environments.  When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their school groups.  North Carolina has specific requirements regarding school entry and vaccinations.

Preteens and Teens

Preteens and teens are at increased risk for getting certain diseases, and therefore need four vaccines to protect them against meningitis, blood infections, cancers caused by HPV, tetanus, diptheria, whooping cough and influenza.  It is important to get HPV vaccine before being exposed to HPV.  Parents can send their preteens and teens to middle school and high school- and even college- protected from these vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring their children are up to date on their vaccines.  Along with helping protect preteens and teens from certain diseases like the flu, being vaccinated also helps stop the spread of these to others in their family, classroom and community.


All adults should get vaccines to protect their health.  Even healthy adults can become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others.  Everyone should have their vaccination needs assessed by a health care professional.  Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person's age, occupation or health conditions, such as asthma, COPD, diabetes or heart disease.  Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person receiving the vaccines, but also helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those that are most vulnerable to serious complications such as infants and young children, elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.