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The term has been derived from the work of Edward Jenner who showed that when weakened pathogens are introduced to bodies of human beings the body produces certain antibodies which protect the human being from the disease. The word comes from the word “vacca” which is the Latin word for cow. Jenner found out the cure for smallpox by intentionally injecting a boy with cowpox. Vaccination is also called active immunization because the immune system develops its own immunity against the pathogen.

The main types of vaccines are: Live attenuated vaccines which contains bacteria or viruses that have been altered so they can’t cause the disease, examples include measles vaccines, oral polio vaccine, chickenpox vaccine; Killed vaccines contain killed bacteria or inactivated viruses like inactivated polio vaccines, inactivated influenza vaccine; Toxoid vaccines containing germs produced by germ that have been made harmless, examples are diphtheria toxoid vaccine, tetanus toxoid vaccine and component vaccines which contains part of the whole bacteria or viruses are the hepatitis B vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine, pneumoccocal conjugate vaccine.

How does vaccine work?

When the immune system is exposed to foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses it produces different antibodies to encounters them. Vaccines which contain altered form of the organisms which stimulates the immune system to produce specific type of antibodies which protect the body from a certain disease. If the organism is encountered then the immune system recognizes and attacks it, thus preventing the disease.

Vaccination has been considered a boon because certain difficult diseases are prevented by creating immunity against them. Polio, Aids, Small pox, Diphtheria, Typhoid can be overcome thanks to vaccines. Many vaccines are administered to a person at childhood. Vaccination may be followed by side effects such as fever, soreness, rash at the injection site. Sometimes a child may have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine such as difficulty in breathing, wheezing, erratic heartbeats and weakness within few hours after the shot. In such cases the doctor should be alerted to tackle the situation.


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