How does a vaccine work?
So we now know that we have to train our immune system to recognize threats. Our system those this by certain molecules from the pathogen which must be introduced into the body to trigger an immune response.
These molecules are called antigens, and they are present in all viruses and bacteria. By injecting these antigens into the body, the immune system can safely learn to recognize them as hostile invaders, produce antibodies, and remember them for the future. If the bacteria or virus reappears, the immune system will recognize the antigens immediately and attack aggressively well before the pathogen can spread and cause sickness.
4 Types of Vaccines
- Use a weakened or inactive form of germ. They create a strong long-lasting immune response because they are so similar to natural infection. Can offer a lifetime of protection.
- They contain a small amount of the weakened virus so consult your doctor prior. May affect people with weakened immune systems, long term health problems, or individuals who have gotten a transplant.
- MMR, Rotavirus, Smallpox, Chickenpox, Yellow Fever
- Use the dead version of the germ
- Not as strong as live vaccines and may need boosters over time.
- Hepatitis A, Flu, Polio, Rabies
Subunit, Recombinant, Polysaccharide, and Conjugate Vaccines
- Use a specific piece of the germ; like its protein, sugar, or capsid.
- They give a strong immune response because we are targeting a key and specific part of the germ.
- Can be given to individuals with a weakened immune system.
- May need boosters for ongoing protection
- Hib disease, Hepatitis B, HPV, Whooping cough (part of the DTaP), Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, Shingles
- Uses a toxin made by the germ. It creates immunity to the part s of the germ that causes disease instead of the whole germ.
- May need boosters.
- Diphtheria, tetanus (both part of DTap)