A Vancouver Island baby, 10 weeks old, has spent a good portion of her young life in pediatric ICU suffering from whopping cough or pertussis. She needed a ventilator for three weeks, she had to withdraw from morphine and re-learn how to eat. She is too young for vaccination but the person she got the infection from, likely was not. Pertussis is an infection that is vaccinated against and if all children are vaccinated, all children, even those who aren't old enough for vaccination, are protected. BC incidences of whooping cough are on the rise and babies are put at risk.
Too much has been made of rumours and pseudo-truths about the serum that disease agents in vaccines are carried in. For the huge majority of children, vaccination provides protection from childhood diseases like pertussis, measles, mumps, tetanus and polio which used to kill and maim or disable them.
Simply put, a vaccine exposes a child to a dead or weakened form of the pathogen. The young immune system springs into action to produce antibodies to it. As the graph shows, if the child is later in contact with the real infection, the immune production of antibodies is rapid and effective. The pathogen antigens are inactivated by the antibodies and there is no disease.
Human immune systems are specific acting and in babies and children aren't fully developed. For each of the diseases there is a unique anti-body that fits that pathogen's antigen to fight it. When children are vaccinated, their immune systems have an opportunity to "learn" and remember that antigen. They can then quickly produce the specific antibody in large numbers and fight it off.
Yes, I'm of a certain age but I'm pretty spry and like to think still smart enough.