Vaccinations are a modern day medical wonder. The development and widespread use of vaccinations has virtually wiped out some diseases from the earth, such as smallpox. Many other diseases that are broadly vaccinated against in developed countries now only have a handful of cases in the modern world (e.g. measles, mumps, diphtheria, polio, and others), though cases in undeveloped countries are still found.

Diseases vaccinated against: Most vaccinations are for viruses or bacteria. It is more difficult to develop vaccines for other parasites such as the parasites for malaria and African sleeping sickness.

Bacteria and vaccinations: Vaccinations are a preventive medicine for numerous bacterial diseases. For example, there are vaccines against pertussis, tetanus, and others.

Viruses and vaccinations: Vaccines can be successful against viruses. There are successful vaccines against many viruses including smallpox, chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, and others. The body's immune system kills viruses by actually killing the whole cell that is virus infected. Virus vaccines teach the body's immune system how to recognize specific virus-infected cells. Unfortunately, some viruses are difficult to create vaccines against, because they mutate, and the body cannot easily recognize the newly mutated form. Flu viruses mutate very often, which explains why a new flu vaccine is needed each year. The HIV virus is also particularly good at mutating itself, and has defied attempts to create a HIV vaccine as yet.

Side effects of vaccinations: Although generally improving health in the society, some individuals can get side effects from vaccinations. Although the majority of side effects are mild, they can range from mild even up to extremely rare cases of death. In some cases, side effects occur as reactions to the additives or other substances that are used to contain the vaccine.

The existence of severe side effects of vaccinations remains an extremely controversial issue. Death from an adverse reaction to a vaccination is extremely rare, but can occur. There have been some claims that some cases of SIDS were actually misdiagnosed adverse vaccine reactions. The possibility that a delayed reaction to a vaccination may result in autism or certain autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes remains highly controversial. Many official studies have failed to show any link, although other parties dispute this.

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