The best way to understand vaccines is to think about how your body naturally works to fight disease. Whenever your body encounters a virus, bacterium, parasite, or fungus (antigens) that it perceives as potentially dangerous, it creates antibodies specific to that particular antigen.
Those antibodies remain in your system for the rest of your life, and you’ll eventually develop thousands of different kinds. If and when they ever encounter the same antigen again, those antibodies will spring into action to fight off infection.
Vaccines are created using weakened or inactive portions of an antigen and are administered via injection. Even though the vaccine isn’t strong enough to make you sick, your immune system recognizes the antigen and immediately begins creating the proper antibodies.
Vaccines allow you to build up a strong immune system without actually having to catch and fight off various diseases.
Immunization is the term used to describe the process of building protection from disease through individual vaccines. That said, many people commonly refer to vaccines as immunizations.
As noted above, your body has the ability to create its own immunity, and it does so quite well. The problem lies in the fact that some pathogens are so strong that they can overwhelm the body faster than your immune system can respond.
Vaccines provide a biological “training ground” to prepare your body to fight off the more serious pathogens without the need to fight off a full infection. Immunization is also an essential component of “herd immunity,” an effect that occurs when most of a population is immune to a certain disease, lowering the ability of that disease to move from one host to the next and thrive.
Researchers have developed a list of vaccines that everyone should have, beginning from the time of birth. Some of the vaccines on that list protect against diseases like:
This is far from a comprehensive list. Scientists continue to develop new vaccines to expand protection, such as targeting COVID-19.
Schedule a visit at LuZcare today for a thorough immunization assessment. If there are gaps in your protection, you can receive the missing vaccines in-house. Booking takes just moments online or over the phone.