Welcome to the State of California 

Why Immunize?

Children need immunizations (shots) to protect them from certain dangerous childhood diseases. Without immunizations, your child can get these diseases - some of which have no cure.

When you get your children fully immunized, you are giving them the best protection against these diseases. Getting immunized also helps protect your community. Diseases spread more easily from person to person if people don’t have all their shots. In 2010, California experienced a whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic - the worst since 1947. Over 9,000 Californians had the disease, hundreds of people were hospitalized, and 10 babies died. Pertussis epidemics affected many states in 2012 and California rates were again higher than usual again in 2013.

And many diseases that have been largely eliminated in the United States are still common in other parts of the world. This continues to be true for measles - which climbed to more than 200 cases in the US (mostly imported from overseas travelers) during 2011. Thousands of children have fallen ill with measles in the UK and France in 2012 and 2013. That means that dangerous diseases are potentially just a plane flight away.

Infants and young children are at the highest risk from these diseases. Immunizations help your child’s immune system to become stronger to fight off these diseases. Each time your child receives an immunization, your child’s immune system becomes stronger.

More Information

  • What If BrochureNew Window
    A brochure in PDF format discussing the possible consequences of not immunizing your child.
  • Community Immunity ... en EspañolNew Window
    A brochure in PDF format explaining how preventing infectious disease benefits the whole community.
  • Immunizations for a Healthy Pregnancy ... en EspañolNew Window
    Pregnant or planning for a family? Learn how immunizations can keep both mom and baby safe from serious diseases.
  • Why Immunize? (CDC)
    A web page with answers to frequently asked questions and links to more resources to learn about the importance of vaccines for you and your family.
  • Trusted sources on vaccine safety
    Looking for reliable information about vaccines and vaccine safety? Visit CDPH’s Vaccine Safety page for resources and links to science-based information.
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    Last modified on: 9/22/2014 2:48 PM