Vaccines work by stimulating our immune system to produce antibodies without actually infecting us with the disease. Antibodies are substances produced by the body to fight disease. Vaccines generate the immune system to produce its own antibodies against disease, as though the body has been infected with it. This is called "active immunity". If the vaccinated person then comes into contact with the disease itself, their immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies they need to fight it.
How are vaccines made?
The first step is to make the organism called the pathogen, that produces the disease. The pathogen is a virus or a bacterium. Viruses and bacteria can be mass produced in the laboratory by infecting cells grown in tissue culture. The pathogen must be then altered to ensure that it doesn't trigger the disease itself.
How long does a vaccination last?
In many cases vaccination provides lifelong protection against a disease, but this can vary. How long a vaccination lasts will depend on the disease that the vaccine protects against, the vaccine and the person who has been vaccinated. Some vaccines provide very high levels of protection for example, MMR provides 90% protection against measles and rubella after one dose.
How a vaccination programme works?
Vaccination programme aim to protect people for life. They often concentrate on young children and they are particularly vulnerable to many potentially dangerous infections. When a vaccination programme against a disease begins, the number of people catching the disease goes down. If enough people in a community are vaccinated, it's harder for a disease to pass between people who have not been vaccinated. This is called "hard immunity" Hard immunity is particularly important in protecting people who can't get vaccinated because they are too ill, or they are having treatment that damages their immune system....