As a parent, it is important to be informed about vaccinations and how they work to protect your child. We have created several resources to answer your questions about vaccinations: from why we still vaccinate for rare diseases to exactly how a vaccine works with your child’s immune system to prevent disease.

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You may want to begin by looking at the interactive immunization schedule we have developed, based on recommendations for children in the United States (as of 2017). In 1980, children in the United States were typically vaccinated against only seven diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children receive vaccines against 15 diseases.

If you would like to know more about how vaccines are made or how they work, we have information about those topics. We also have articles on vaccine safety and regulation , so you can find out how vaccines are tested before they’re approved for use and how they’re monitored afterward.

If you are not familiar with herd immunity, you may want to find out more about what it is, and why vaccination not only helps protect your child from disease, but the rest of the community as well.

You can look at timelines to read about different diseases—whether they’ve been eradicated, like smallpox, or have become uncommon, like polio and measles.

Read our blog for current topics on vaccination and for in-depth looks into the Historical Medical Library at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Resources for Parents  



Updated: 5 June 2021