Vaccines are a way of preventing disease that involves protecting the person against attack by a particular microorganism. A different vaccine is needed for each different type of microorganism. The vaccine works by providing the immune system with the information that it needs to recognise the particular microorganism that the vaccine is aimed at protecting against, thereby allowing it to produce the appropriate antibodies whenever it is encountered in the future. The immunity offered by the vaccine may last for a period and then require a booster injection, although in some case life long immunity is provided by one shot.
Vaccination is a vital advance in medical science. Vaccines can protect people, from early in life, and throughout their lives, against many of the most devastating threats that past generations were killed by. Further advances in vaccines should be able to provide the prevention and cure for massive killers that still threaten us, such as HIV, for example. Although in some cases vaccines are still some way off yet.
Vaccination techniques involve taking the troublesome microorganism that you want to provide immunity for and injecting it into the person’s bloodstream, for example. This introduces the entity in a properly controlled way such that the person’s immune system can acquire the information needed to produce the necessary antibodies that will kill any live and dangerous versions of the microorganism that it may encounter in the future. So immunity is delivered artificially rather than relying on developing it naturally.
One of the vaccination techniques that can be used involves using live examples of the microorganism that protection is required against. Another way involves using an attenuated version of the disease-causing entity. In this case the entity has some aspect of its physiology deactivated to make it less harmful, whilst still providing the information needed by the immune system to provide the immunity for the person. Encountering the entity in the future will see the immune system successfully kill it off.
The Sabin polio virus vaccine is an example of a live vaccine. The MMR vaccine, which covers measles, mumps, and rubella, meanwhile is an attenuated vaccine. This particular vaccine has been considered controversial by some, helped by media sensationalism, because of safety fears. But there is no real evidence for these claims. Vaccines involving killed microorganisms include the influenza, bubonic plague, and hepatitis A vaccines, for example. These are just a few of the diseases that can be prevented or cured by vaccines and this list will be added to as the technology advances.