What are vaccinations and why do we need them?

Professor Hallux and Nurse Nanobot are finding out!

Preventing disease is as important as curing it, and there are lots of ways to do this.

We all do little things every day to prevent ourselves getting sick, like eating lots of healthy fruit and vegetables, exercising, having a wash, cleaning our teeth, and always using a tissue when you sneeze.

Vaccinations are another way to stop you from getting sick.

You’ve probably had to have a vaccination at some point in your life (although you might not remember if you were very little at the time).

If you’re not feeling poorly, it might seem strange to go to the doctors for an illness you don’t have. It’s because prevention is better than cure – and it’s certainly easier!

Vaccinations give your body powers they might not have had already. Not the sort of powers that turn you into Superman but the kind of powers that help you to fight off some infections and diseases.

Vaccines are like a training course for your immune system. That’s the army of helpful cells in your body that fight germs who try to attack us.

Tiny little dead or weakened parts of a disease are put inside your body – that’s what’s inside the syringe.

There’s not enough to make you ill but enough for your immune system to produce special cells called antibodies that learn all about the disease and how to kill it.

The disease cells in the vaccine are too weak to hurt the body – but they’re giving those antibodies all the information they need to kill the disease.

These antibodies are now experts on that disease, and so now every time that the disease tries to infect this body, the odds will be stacked against it!

Sometimes you may still catch a disease, but generally you won’t get it as bad as you might and it will clear up faster.

Vaccinations have helped wipe some nasty diseases off the face of the planet – although they work best when everyone has them, leaving those yucky diseases nowhere to hide…

Not all vaccinations are injections – sometimes it’s nothing more than a spray up the nose. It might not be the nicest thing in the world to have – but catching a nasty disease that we vaccinate against would be far more painful!

It’s a little pain for a lot of gain!
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Hallux’s Miraculous Medicine with support from Wellcome Trust and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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