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What Are Vaccines And What Do They Do To Your Body?

Some infections can lead to chronic illness and fatalities. While your body can defend itself against numerous disease-causing organisms, your immune system might still require assistance to enhance its defence and overcome potentially life-threatening risks. Read on to learn more about vaccines and their effects on your body.

What is a Vaccine?

Vaccination, a process where a pathogen or virus is introduced into your system to induce immunity against a specific infection or disease, has been an ongoing practice spanning more than 500 years. Evolution and research have led to modern vaccination, which refers to various medical treatments developed to enhance your immune system’s ability to recognise and fight disease. Vaccines ensure your immune system can fight specific diseases without the risk of a full-blown infection.

4 Common Types of Vaccines

Over the years, the development of vaccines has evolved based on the advancement of the technologies used. The several types of vaccines include:

Inactivated Vaccines

Most vaccines were created using this method. The virus is isolated and treated with heat or chemicals to make it inactive before being added to the vaccine. However, it may lack strong immunity and mostly requires booster shots to be more effective.

Live Attenuated Vaccines

Viruses are grown in a laboratory until they lose their disease-causing characteristics. The weakest ones are isolated and introduced into a vaccine to produce a more robust immune system response to that specific virus. If you have a weakened immune system, these vaccines aren’t safe and can lead to developing a life-threatening full-scale infection.

Subunit Vaccines

Part of the virus, which is harmless on its own, is separated and put into a vaccine. This activates your immune system to recognise the pathogen and its harmful properties if it enters your body. These vaccines are the safest type for people who have weakened immune systems.

Messenger RNA Vaccines

A vaccine introduces a pathogen with instructions to create the virus in your system without its disease-causing characteristics. This triggers antibodies to detect the harmful properties of the virus when it enters your system. An example of this type of vaccine is the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

How do Vaccines Work?

In most cases, vaccines contain part of the virus that has been killed or changed so as not to cause an infection or disease. This ingredient or antigen might make you sick since it mimics the behaviour of that specific virus. When your system recognises the unwanted virus, it reacts by releasing antibodies to fight against it.

The imitation of the infection or disease engages your body’s natural defences. Your immune system releases antibodies that identify and neutralise the virus by ensuring it doesn’t multiply. You are considered immunised or resistant after being vaccinated when the infection is eliminated.

Can You Get Sick if You’re Vaccinated?

Some vaccines are effective in blocking illness, while others can only prevent the most severe form of infection or disease. For instance, you might still be vulnerable to the flu even if you have taken the flu vaccine. The reason is that various flu viruses circulate, and you might not be fully protected from each type except for the most common types of the flu which the vaccine enhances your immunity for.

The Risks of Skipping Vaccinations

It’s essential to get vaccinated at the recommended age. Children are mainly vulnerable to numerous illnesses if they skip or delay vaccinations. The most common risks include:

  • Being more vulnerable to severe illnesses such as pneumonia and TB.
  • An increased risk of spreading diseases.
  • Expensive and time-consuming treatment, which increases the risk of complications.
  • Poor quality of life.
  • A shortened life expectancy.

While there’s a growing concern about misinformation about getting vaccinated, it’s still necessary to speak to your healthcare provider to answer your questions. Vaccinations are essential to keeping healthy and improving your quality of life. Affinity Health provides efficient medical cover that ensures your medical needs are met without breaking the bank.

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