For thousands of years, smallpox infected most humans. The disease caused permanent scars and was often deadly. It was not until 40 years ago that smallpox infections finally ended. This triumph was due to the development of a successful smallpox vaccine, and a global immunization campaign.
Vaccines use the intelligence of our immune systems to build our defense against a germ. Scientists use a weakened or killed part of a virus or bacteria to make a vaccine. When we receive the vaccine, our body creates defenders or "antibodies" without us having to get sick from the actual germ. This way, if we catch the same virus or bacteria in the future, our antibodies will jump to our defense and we will not get sick.
Vaccination is our best protection against many preventable diseases such as the flu, measles, and hepatitis. Modern vaccines are safe, reliable, and closely monitored and regulated. When we protect ourselves with a vaccine, then we also can't spread that disease to others, which makes our community safer for everyone!
Common questions about vaccines (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Information (Coronavirus Prevention Network)
20-minute interview "How Vaccine Trials are Conducted and Why Diversity Matters" with Vanderbilt University Medical Center vaccine researcher Dr. Spyros Kalams
Talk to your healthcare provider for more information about vaccines. Health Assist Tennessee will help you find a healthcare provider, if you don't have health insurance.