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How Do Vaccinations Work
What is vaccination?Vaccination protects you from specific diseases that can make you very sick, disable or even kill you. Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection as it would react when it recognizes and fights the real infection. They trick the body into thinking it is under assault & trigger the immune system to produce its own antibodies (substances produced by the body to fight disease), as though the body has been infected with a disease without actually infecting us and harming us with the disease. This is called "active immunity". Thus, vaccination is like a dress rehearsal for your immune system so it is prepared for the real show . How does it work? When germs, such as bacteria or viruses, invade the body, they attack and multiply quickly. This invasion is called an infection , which causes the illness.
- The vaccine contains antigens: harmless substances (such as dead bacteria or molecules) associated with the disease.
- The body assumes the antigens are the actual disease, and its immune system stimulates white blood cells to activate and create antibodies - proteins that can fight the disease's bacteria or viruses - the invading organism.
Can vaccination eliminate diseases?The disease can be eradicated completely if the vaccination is given to most people, as has happened with smallpox and polio. If enough people in a community are vaccinated, it's harder for a disease to infect even those people who have not been vaccinated. This is called "herd immunity".
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