The human body has an immune system that works effectively against pathogens. Some bacteria and viruses can be too strong that they end up overwhelming the immune system leading to serious infections and illnesses.
Vaccines were developed to enhance the effectiveness of immune systems in fighting pathogens. Research studies have shown that they are a safe way to prevent specific diseases.
In this post, we are going to talk about the vaccines that exist today and how they work. Health in college is at the center of everything. Without good health and education, there’s nothing much you can do in any area of your life.
White blood cells
To figure out how vaccines work, it’s important to know how the human body fights diseases. When a virus gets into the body, they start attacking and multiplying. The scientific term for this invasion is infection. Infection often leads to illness.
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Blood contains red blood cells and white blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to organs and tissues while white blood cells are responsible for protecting the body against invasions. There are three types of white blood cells namely:
- Macrophages: These are white blood cells that swallow and digest dead cells and germs. They leave behind sections of the invading bacteria called antigens. The body naturally stimulates antibodies when it identifies antigens.
- B-lymphocytes: These are white blood cells that are responsible for the production of antibodies that attack antigens that the macrophages leave behind.
- T-lymphocytes: They are white blood cells that attack cells that have been invaded by pathogens.
Once the body encounters bacteria or a virus, it can take several days to fight the infection. After winning the war, the immune system remembers how to protect the body against specific pathogens.
The body has a few T-lymphocytes that take action quickly once the body encounters the same pathogen. When an antigen is detected, B-lymphocytes launch an attack by producing antibodies.
How vaccines operate
Vaccines operate by imitating an infection to boost immunity. This infection doesn’t cause illness in most instances. However, it causes the immune system to produce antibodies.
After getting a vaccine, the imitated infection can lead to minor symptoms such as headache or fever. These symptoms are normal as the body works to build immunity.
Once the imitated infection is eradicated, the body is left with several memory T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that remember how to fight the illness in the future. In most instances, it takes several weeks for the body to produce B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes.
Therefore, students can get infected with the same disease a few days before or after vaccination since the vaccine hasn’t had ample time to protect the body.
When it comes to developing vaccines, every scientist has a different approach. These approaches are based on data about the illness that the vaccine is aimed at preventing.
Other considerations include the region where the vaccine will be used extensively and the risk of exposure. In our world today, there are five types of vaccines namely:
- Inactivated: This is a vaccine that either contains an inactive form or a dead pathogen. It stimulates the body to recognize the antigens and provides protection. A person requires booster shots to increase their effectiveness.
- Live attenuated: This vaccine contains a weak version of the disease. And they are quite effective in providing lifelong immunity. People who have been infected cannot receive this vaccine.
- Conjugate: This vaccine contains an isolated sugar or protein from the pathogen. This ingredient enables the immune system to recognize and react to an invading pathogen.
- Toxoid: Some diseases release toxins to harm the body. Vaccines in this category use weak toxins to prepare the immune system to fight pathogens.
Vaccines are developed to help the immune system detect and fight specific bacteria and viruses. They help in reducing the effects of diseases that cannot be prevented.
All vaccines have to go through several stages before they are released to ensure that they are safe and effective. Keep in mind that it takes ten to fifteen years to develop vaccines for a particular disease. Health authorities will approve a vaccine if it has passed the rigorous processes in place successfully.
Therefore, all the vaccines that are being administered globally on reputable health facilities are not only effective but also safe. Always consult your doctor before getting a particular vaccine.