How do vaccinations work and should I vaccinate my child? What diseases have vaccines eradicated?

Find out more with Professor Hallux!

You might be tidying up your bedroom or kitchen when – ouch! – you might catch your finger on something sharp.

If you get a cut on something, you’ll need to get the doctor to take a look at it.

Luckily, things called vaccinations are here to help prevent nasty and potentially dangerous infections.

Vaccines are used to help prevent bacterial and viral infections. They work by stimulating white blood cells in your body to produce antibodies to fight certain diseases.

If the vaccinated person then comes into contact with the actual disease, their immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies or cells they need to fight it.

Click here to learn more about bugs and your body!

Thanks to vaccines, some infectious diseases like Polio that have been responsible for the deaths of millions, have been virtually wiped out!

The main ingredient of any vaccine is either dead or weakened versions of the disease-causing virus or bacteria. These are known as the vaccine antigen and they stimulate the immune system, so it thinks it’s being attacked.

Remember, LYMPHOCYTES are white blood cells which attack harmful microbes. B LYMPHOCYTES are coated in different Y shaped antibodies.

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An antibody is a kind of protein and there are thousands if not millions of different types of antibodies produced by the immune system.

Bacterial or viral cells have antigens on their surface. When the right antibody connects with the right antigen, like a lock and key, the cell will be destroyed…

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The white blood cell is quickly making lots of copies of itself and those copies produce the correct antibody to kill bad cells.

It won’t be long until they’ve eradicated all of the weakened virus vaccines! Copies of these cells are kept in the blood so that if the real flu cells do appear, your body will know how to combat them.

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Although some vaccines do last for a lifetime, others need boosters to remind your white blood cells of the right codes to combat the pathogens.

One virus though is ever so clever and keeps changing. Flu. It’s therefore important to get a completely new vaccine every year.

Vaccinations are part of modern life. Many are given as an injection or nasal spray when you’re a child. You will have had them to protect yourself from diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.

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It’s important that as many people as possible get the right vaccinations.

That way we can protect the more vulnerable people in our communities – and even eradicate some diseases altogether!

Activities for you to do

Activity 1: See your personalised vaccination timeline!  See what vaccinations you are likely to have had based on your age and gender!

Activity 2: Play stop the spread!
Play the online e-Bug game where you have to try and stop the spread of an infection in the playground using tissues to collect sneezes and vaccinations to protect students – the longer you can hold off the infection, the more points you get! Do you notice that the infection takes longer to take over when you have vaccinated more students?

Activity 3: Find out about diseases you are vaccinated against
Check out the e-Bug disease fact file to find out more about those diseases you were vaccinated against when you were younger, such as measles, mumps and rubella.

And for teachers

Run a lesson with your students on vaccinations: Primary / Secondary

  1. Infection prevention is always better than cure!
  2. Vaccines are used to help prevent different bacterial and viral infections.
  3. Previously common deadly infections are now rare due to vaccines.
  4. Understand different vaccines they will have been treated with in childhood

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Professor Hallux’s Antibiotics, supported by e-Bug and Public Health England.

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