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What does a vaccine consist of? How does a vaccine work?

Last updated date: 13th Jun 2024
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Hint: The production of antibodies against vaccine-preventable diseases through the administration of vaccines is referred to as immunization. On the other hand, vaccination is just the administration of the biological agent.

Complete step by step answer: The word vaccine has come from the Latin word “Vacca” meaning cow. A vaccine consists of the preparation or extract of dead germs of disease. When they are inoculated into a healthy human being, antibodies are formed. This gives rise to a temporary/permanent/passive immunity. Vaccines in other words are antibody-forming agents. The property of memory of the immune system is the basis of vaccination. Recognition of the pathogens takes place by the memory B cells and T cells which are generated by vaccines. During vaccination (the administration of vaccines), a preparation of antigenic proteins of pathogens or inactivated pathogens is introduced into the body. These antigens instigate the generation of primary immune response and memory B and T cells. If the vaccinated person is attacked by the same pathogen, the antigen will be recognized by the memory B and T cells. The pathogens will then be attacked by the production of antibodies and lymphocytes. A few types of vaccines are attenuated whole agent vaccines, inactivated whole agent vaccines, toxoids, subunit vaccines, conjugated vaccines, and nucleic acid vaccines.
Vaccines can also be classified as First-generation vaccines, Second generation vaccines, and third-generation vaccines.

Note: Some important points to remember are listed below:
i. Thus, vaccines reduce the risk of getting a disease by the production of antibodies.
ii. The efficacy of a vaccine depends mainly on the disease and the strain of the vaccine.