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Babies are born with a level of protection against certain diseases because their mothers transfer antibodies, which are disease-fighting proteins, to them before birth. Breastfeeding also provides additional antibodies through breast milk. However, this protection is temporary.

Immunization, or vaccination, is a method used to develop immunity and protection against specific diseases. It involves the administration of small amounts of either weakened or killed germs that cause the disease. In some cases, vaccines consist of fragments of the germ, such as proteins or genetic material.

Germs targeted by vaccines can be either viruses, like the measles virus, or bacteria, such as pneumococcus. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to respond as if it were a real infection, allowing it to defend against the "infection" and create a memory of the germ. This memory enables the immune system to fight off the germ effectively if it enters the body in the future.

Different types of vaccines exist, including:

Attenuated live germs: These vaccines utilize germ variants that have been weakened, as observed in the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), as well as the chickenpox vaccine.

Killed germs: Some vaccines contain inactivated germs, like the flu shot or the inactivated poliovirus vaccine.

Toxoid vaccines: These vaccines include an inactivated toxin, a harmful chemical produced by the germ. Examples are the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines.

Conjugate vaccines: These vaccines combine small fragments of the germ with proteins that stimulate a strong immune response. Many common vaccines, such as those protecting against hepatitis B, HPV, whooping cough, and meningitis, are made this way.

Mrna vaccines: This type of vaccine utilizes a piece of the germ's genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA). Some COVID-19 vaccines fall into this category.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends certain vaccinations and schedules for children. These recommendations may vary, and as new vaccines are developed, the recommendations can change. It is important to consult with your doctor to determine the appropriate vaccines and schedule for your child.

The recommended vaccinations include:

Remember, it is crucial to discuss with your healthcare provider to ensure your child receives the appropriate vaccinations and follows the recommended schedule.