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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Since the introduction and use of vaccines, many infectious disease once common in the United States and around the world, including polio and smallpox, have been reduced or eliminated. A challenge facing public health since the reduction in incidence of some vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) is that public perception about the severity of disease and susceptibility to it have decreased. Vaccine-preventable diseases still pose a significant threat and they can have a costly impact resulting in doctor's visits, lost productivity and time from work, hospitalizations, and premature deaths. Vaccines can protect both the people who receive them and those whom they come in contact with.

VPD Surveillance Coordinator Contact:

Stephanie Massay
Phone: 907-269-8011,

Information about vaccines:

Visit the Alaska Immunization Program website or contact the Immunization Helpline at or 1-888-430-4321.
AK Immunization Program Logo

Vaccines Work!

CDC statistics demonstrate that there have been dramatic declines in vaccine-preventable diseases when compared with the pre-vaccine era.

Vaccines use the body’s natural defense system to help create immunity. They trigger the same immune response that a germ might trigger, but do not cause illness. Immune protection benefits not only an individual but it can help protect others in the family and community. By immunizing yourself, you can also protect those whom you may come in contact with who:

  • Have weakened immune systems,
  • Cannot get vaccinated because they are too young, too old, or have certain medical conditions, or
  • Are not fully immunized.

The first ever vaccine was created by Edward Jenner, an English physician and scientist, who successfully injected a small amount of cowpox virus into a young boy to protect him from the related (and deadly) smallpox virus. But how does this seemingly counterintuitive process work? The YouTube video below details the science behind vaccines. Credit: TED-ED

 How do vaccines work?

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