How Vaccines Are Made

Definition of Terms:

Immunity: Protection from an infectious disease. If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.

VaccineA product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.

VaccinationThe act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.

ImmunizationA process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination or inoculation.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/imz-basics.htm

Vaccines contain the same germs that cause disease. (For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus, and Hib vaccine contains Hib bacteria.) But they have been either killed or weakened to the point that they don’t make you sick. Some vaccines contain only a part of the disease germ.

A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.
This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them.

For more information visit Historyofvaccines.org for interactive learning:

Source: History of Vaccines

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/vpd-vac-basics.htm

This website is supported by an independent educational grant from Merck and an educational grant from Sanofi Pasteur U.S. 
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