Don’t Wait: Get Back-To-School Vaccines Scheduled ASAP! Schools are one of the top hotspots for germs. Large crowds of kids + classrooms = COOTIES! Getting your child vaccinated early allows them to go back protected from vaccine-preventable disease. Learn more about preventable illnesses and where to get your kids vaccinated right here at Newsymom!
Though getting vaccines has been a controversial topic in recent years, the science behind them says it all. When given to our children, vaccines protect their bodies from the illness they come into contact with because they set their body up for success. Let’s take a look at how vaccines protect our kids!
Understanding Your Body’s Defense: The Immune System
To understand how a vaccine works, you need to understand your kid’s body (and your body). We’re all built with a system that recognizes, prepares, and attacks diseases that infect your body (i.e. the immune system). Your immune system is the hub for keeping you healthy and disease-free! It’s equipped with:
- Macrophages: white blood cells that gobble up germs, dying, or dead cells. When a Macrophage digests a germ, it leaves behind the “dangerous” part of the germ (called an antigen) so your antibodies can attack them!
- B-lymphocytes: defensive white blood cells that produce the antibodies responsible for attacking antigens.
- T-lymphocytes: another type of defensive white blood cell. They attack cells in the body that have already been infected.
You’ve got that info, so let’s see how a vaccine helps!
How Does a Vaccine Work?
In order for your body to ward off disease, it needs to have white blood cells recognize it and eliminate it! To do this, vaccines imitate an infection, using one of six types of vaccine for your body to prepare its defenses:
Live, Attenuated Vaccines
Live, attenuated vaccines fight viruses and bacteria. These vaccines introduce a living, but weakened, version of the disease. It’s the closest thing to a natural infection, but are weakened so you aren’t experiencing serious disease. Live vaccines are the best teachers for your immune system! However, these shouldn’t be given to children who are immunocompromised, such as those going through chemotherapy. Examples of this vaccine include the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccine.
Inactivated vaccines also fight viruses and bacteria, but with a dead or inactive virus. They’re not as effective as the live vaccine, so multiple doses are needed to boost or maintain immunity. An example of this type would be the inactivated Polio vaccine.
Toxoid vaccines prevent diseases caused by bacteria that produce toxins (poisons) in the body. When your body receives a toxoid vaccine, it learns to fight off the natural toxins. The toxins in these vaccines are weakened so they won’t cause illness. An example of this vaccine: The DTaP vaccine contains diphtheria and tetanus toxoids.
Subunit vaccines include parts of the virus or bacteria, or subunits, instead of the entire germ. These vaccines only include the essential antigens (parts that your B-lymphocytes would attack), making side effects less common. The Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is an example of this!
Conjugate vaccines fight a different type of bacteria. The bacteria they fight have antigens with a sugar-like, protective coating around them called polysaccharides. In a young child’s immune system, the polysaccharides “hide” the antigens and make it hard for the immune system to recognize it. This vaccine links the coating to the antigen, making sure the immune system attacks both parts! Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) is a perfect example of this vaccine!
Messenger RNA Vaccines
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies. This type of vaccine was made newly available to the public in 2019, in the form of the COVID-19 vaccine, but researchers have been working with them for decades.
What Diseases Are Vaccine-Preventable?
You can prevent your child (and family) from getting sick by vaccinating against these diseases:
- Chicken Pox
- Hepatitis A & B
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Vaccinate your children ASAP! Schedule an appointment for Back-to-School vaccines with the Tuscarawas County Health Department at (330) 343-5555 x. 174 or 181. You can schedule while they have availability, Monday-Friday, and most insurances are accepted!
- Diseases You Almost Forgot About (Thanks to Vaccines)
- Understanding How mRNA Vaccines Work
- Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- Vaccines for Children Program (VFC Program)