SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — There are various vaccines for various diseases, but they all do the same thing, help your body fight illnesses and keep them from spreading.

Vaccines prevent common diseases that can cause serious harm or even lead to death. 

Most vaccines create life-lasting protection, but there are some vaccines that are needed periodically, like the flu or the COVID-19 vaccine that require a booster. 

“It’s really important that people realize the vaccines that are available to prevent illnesses like measles, pertussis tetanus, have been around for a really long time. They’re absolutely millions of times safer than the actual illness, getting the actual illness,” said Dr. James Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has safety monitoring systems that you can register for after receiving a vaccine to help monitor and report how you feel.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a respiratory system infection caused by bacteria. Symptoms include a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath.

Health experts say it can affect people of all ages, but mainly impacts babies younger than 6 months who are not yet fully protected by immunizations. 

For this reason, doctors say it is important for those around infants to get vaccinated to better protect vulnerable babies. 

“As we get older, our immune system starts forgetting how to protect against pertussis. You can see, definitely in older people, it can come back, and so it’s the kind of thing you need a booster for. It’s part of that every 10 years. Pertussis is part of the Tdap now,” said Castillo.

The Whooping cough vaccine consists of five doses between 2 months and 6 years of age. Boosters are needed every 10 years and are also recommended for pregnant women.