“How do vaccines work?”
That’s a good question, and an important one to be asking right now. What you first have to understand is how a body fights off a virus. A body fights off a virus using several different types of white blood cells. The three important ones are:
These white blood cells make antibodies that attack the germ remains left over by this next white blood cell.
white blood cells that digest germs and dying cells to produce antigens (traces of the germ that the body can identify and analyze as dangerous).
These ones are simple, all they do is attack infected cells in the body.
“Sounds like my white blood cells got it covered”
Unfortunately no, not only by not getting vaccinated do you become a risk to other people (See Herd Immunity), you become a risk to yourself. Aside from the obvious dangers dealing with the virus has, it’s shown that it also has the potential to weaken your immune system after dealing with it, making you more susceptible to getting the disease again, or getting another one, the only difference being this time around your body will have a lot harder time fighting it off.
Types of Vaccines
Protein Subunit Vaccines
Injects a harmless version of the virus (specifically the virus’s proteins) that your body learns how to fight. Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, unlike the viral vector, which gives you a weakened, harmless version of the virus. Protein subunits just give you bits and pieces of the virus.
This vaccine works similar to our macrophages in our body! The vaccine gives your body tools to make proteins to protect from the virus and understand how to better detect when the virus is in the body.
Viral Vector Vaccines
This vaccine injects a modified, harmless version of the virus into our body. Our body then analyses the virus and makes instructions for how to deal with the real thing.