How does our body fight off infections?
Our body fights off infections with two parts of our immune system. One has fast, but weak intake and does not destroy the infection. The second immune system will target pathogens, but takes longer to fight off the infection, which is why we'll get sick. When the second system is exposed to an infection previously, its memory response will kick in to fight rapidly and effectively.
How does vaccination protect an entire population?
It’s called herd immunity. In order for a infectious agent to survive, it has to spread from person to person to reproduce. If a population has a high percentage of people vaccinated, they are protected. The chances are low for an infected person to run into someone susceptible to the disease.
Why are live vaccines no longer used?
Because there was a small chance that people could actually get sick from the vaccine itself when a live virus is in the dose. Either the virus could change or mutate a little bit or your immune system might not be strong enough to fight off the vaccine strain.
What makes a pathogen a good and challenging target for vaccine development?
Dr. Rogers states that part of it is what you look to prevent. There is a focus on very serious pathogens being targeted. What makes one more successful than others is due to the wide variety of the pathogens and how often they can change. One vaccine against all types is really challenging.
What are some of the most exciting prospects for vaccine technology?
Dr. Rogers is interested to see that as new diseases that are worldwide threats, advances can now be made quickly with new technology that will lead to new vaccines— especially in a timespan that was unreachable before.
Was Edward Jenner actually the first to come up with cowpox preventing smallpox?
Probably not. He was the first to conduct trials on multiple people and bring his results to a large and legit medical society. There was a person at least 20 years before Jenner’s discovery who infected his family to cowpox, but none of them were infected.
What diseases severely impact children?
Alongside measles, pertussis— also known as whooping cough— was an infamous child killer. It was one disease that was high on the list for vaccine development because it was so feared and killed children horribly. It was difficult to create the vaccine.
What are some routine vaccines people are recommended to get?
The World Health Organization recommends as a blanket statement for all countries with vaccination programs to include: BCG— which the U.S. does not vaccinate for— polio, DTP, HIB, pneumococcal vaccine, rotavirus, measles, rubella, and HPV.
Why doesn’t the United States require BCG vaccination?
We don’t have high enough rates of tuberculosis to justify the vaccination. The BCG vaccine is for tuberculosis that is good at preventing disseminated, full body tuberculosis, in infants. For some reason, it’s not great for adults by preventing them from getting tuberculosis.
How do vaccines have multifaceted impacts on the community?
One of the things to remember is that vaccines are one of the most cost effective health tools that have ever been invented. With vaccinations, if you prevent that first instance of illness, you are also preventing the cascading events that will follow.