How Do Vaccines Work?

As we enter into month ten of living in a pandemic (perhaps slightly longer or shorter depending where you live), we inch closer to getting a COVID-19 vaccine. There has been a lot of talk in the media about finding a vaccine for COVID-19 since it was first introduced, and biomedical companies have been working round the clock to make it a reality. Now, it appears that we will have access to a vaccine sooner than later. The question is, will you be getting one? In this week’s post, we talk about the basics of vaccines. Hopefully this will help you better understand how vaccines work, and dispel any myths that you may have heard, allowing you to make an educated decision on whether vaccines are right for you.

How does it work?

Vaccines contain germs that cause the disease that you are being vaccinated against, but the germs are killed or weakened so they don’t make you sick. Basically, these germs enter your body and it causes an immune response, the same as if you actually had the disease. The immune response produces antibodies, which then make you immune to the actual disease. Essentially – vaccines mimic disease germs to your body, which fights it off with antibodies and then builds immunity against it. Another key point is that vaccines prevent disease, rather than treating it.

What is in vaccines?

Vaccines only contain ingredients that are necessary to produce it, make it last and do its job. This link provides a helpful link that explains each ingredient commonly found in vaccines, and its use. The interesting part is that most, if not all of the ingredients can already found in your body.

What is herd immunity?

Herd immunity is a term for how a community becomes protected from disease when most people are vaccinated. Basically more people have immunity, which means that the disease can’t spread much. This helps keep people with compromised immune systems (like elders and people undergoing cancer treatment) safe!

For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/vpd-vac-basics.html & https://immunizebc.ca/