Vaccines: how they work & why they’re important

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Vaccines or immunizations are “shots” which help prevent dangerous and deadly diseases.

A vaccine works with our own body’s natural defenses to help prevent infection and disease.

To understand how a vaccine works, you need to first know how our body fights infections and disease.

When a germ, such as a bacteria or virus, enters our body they begin to multiply and can lead to an infection.  Our bodies start to make cells called antibodies to fight the infection.   These antibodies stay in our body and are ready to fight the infection again, if we are exposed to it in the future.  This is called immunity.

Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection.  When we get a vaccination, our bodies start making antibodies so that if we get exposed to that infection our bodies are able to fight it and we do not get sick.

For some vaccines, the first shot (dose) does not provide as much immunity as we need, so, more than one shot (dose) is needed to build complete immunity.   But for many of the vaccines, we only need one shot.

So don’t let disease win! Get vaccinated!


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