NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In the midst of a pandemic, we regularly hear about the need for a COVID-19 vaccine. This, coupled with an ongoing debate in this country about whether to vaccinate children, may leave some confused about what vaccines do and why they are so important.
Vaccines keep us healthy and teach the immune system how to fight illnesses that can cause significant illness or death, says Dr. Cliff O’Callahan, pediatric faculty and director of nurseries for Middlesex Health. Dr. O’Callahan likens vaccines to a vitamin or other supplement that someone takes to boost their body’s defense system—except they are better. Vaccines boost a particular part of the body’s defense system in very specific and powerful ways that are scientifically proven to be more beneficial than any vitamin or supplement, he says.
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