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Diseases & Topics

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

A number of infectious diseases can be prevented by vaccination. Vaccinations prevent disease by stimulating a person's own immune system to develop disease-fighting antibodies that ward off specific infections. Although young children in North Carolina are required to get a series of vaccinations before entering school, a number of vaccines are also designed for adults of all ages and for older children.

Vaccines prevent disease in the people who receive them and also in the broader community. Because of widespread childhood vaccination programs, disease like polio, measles, diphtheria, rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) are no longer widespread in the United States. However, cases and outbreaks of these diseases continue to occur due to travel to and from areas with lower vaccine coverage. Vaccines also protect against diseases that are still common in the United States, such as influenza. Other vaccines keep people who are exposed to rabies from developing that deadly illness, help people avoid infection with some cancer-causing viruses, and prevent pertussis (whooping cough) and some types of meningitis, pneumonia and hepatitis.

In North Carolina, many vaccines are available through local health departments External link as well as through other healthcare providers.

Vaccine-preventable diseases include:

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