Immunization is the deliberate induction of an immune response, with the practical intent to generate resistance and protection against an infectious agent. Immunization in people occurs via a vaccine, typically administered as an injection, colloquially—a shot. Vaccination causes a healthy person to mount an immune response without developing the actual disease-causing infection. According to the World Health Organization, immunizations reduce the global burden of disease, preventing an estimated 6 million deaths per year. The only greater benefit to human health is clean water. By preventing individual and communal disease, immunization of infants and children has become an essential part of the human life cycle. This entry discusses the mechanism of immunization, typical vaccines administered in the United States, and the public controversy to medically recommended ...

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