Science Articles

WHAT IS A VACCINE?

You might remember the ‘shots’ that your younger sibling or any child in your family was given when they went to a doctor for the medical check-up.

You might remember the ‘shots’ that your younger sibling or any child in your family was given when they went to a doctor for the medical check-up. Even you were subjected to the same treatment when you were young. You might recall how much the sharp needle stung on the baby skin and how the sibling must have questioned the need for the torture. As an elder sibling, you knew that your younger one was getting vaccinated. So exactly, what is a vaccine?

The vaccine consists of the inactivated, weak, injured or dead form of the bacteria or virus which is injected into the human body for stimulating or killing the actual infection. Nothing happens to the person who is getting vaccinated because the injected micro-organisms in the vaccine are dead. What basically happens is that the weak or dead microorganisms enter the body and make the immune system acts to make their antibodies that fight off the virus if it ever happens to enter the body again.

 

HOW DOES THE VACCINE WORK

Vaccines are a hell lot more into work mode than you can ever think. For example, let us take the example of measles to demonstrate the working of a vaccine. So, you get vaccinated by the dead cells of measles (there is absolutely no danger because the virus cannot produce at all). As soon as you receive the vaccine containing measles in your blood, the dead or inactive measles virus float in your bloodstream.

Your immune system recognises them as antigens and sends out their emergency signal. The white blood cells then come to the scene and fight off the measles virus. White blood cells kill them off and produce antibodies for measles. Now, whenever you catch the actual measles, the antibodies present in your body immediately fight the virus and helps you stay protected.

So basically, vaccines are used for making the immune system create antibodies for diseases which then later come to use in life.

 

BENEFITS OF VACCINE
  • When the immune system gets trained in resisting the particular disease, the person becomes immune to the deadly virus that causes the disease.
  • Before the invention of vaccines, people had no choice but to hope that their immune system is capable enough of fighting the disease. Many people have died due to typhoid owing to this. If the disease was deadly, then it might even pass to generations.
  • Vaccines help in providing artificially acquired immunity which again is a safe and good way to become immune. Vaccines don’t even let the disease to happen, decrease the risk of disease transmissions and even curtails the risk of transmission.
  • And like it is said, prevention is always better than the cure.