The Immune System A World Within Us We Train with Vaccinations
Our immune system is a complicated network of responses that are active every second of every day, even without our awareness. When working properly, our bodies can attack foreign invaders using multiple processes. However, with this level of complexity, offering children and parents an educational tool about the benefits of vaccines is no easy task. This book addresses the immune system’s response to administered vaccinations, remaining as accurate and basic as possible.
Ava describes the B-cell’s role in initiating an immune response when exposed to a virus or vaccine. Once activated by the presence of an antigen, the B-cells produce antibodies. Just like Ava, they recognize the antigen and bind to its surface. This prevents the virus from invading healthy cells and reproducing or replicating, therefore preventing illness. Once antibodies are present, you could be exposed to a virus and remain healthy for months or years to come.
The history of vaccine development has centered on one main objective: provide the body with safe exposure to a pathogen before infection with the fully potent disease. Amazingly, this concept was being utilized to fight the deadly smallpox virus before germ theory was proven by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch in the 1860s.
Vaccines are safer today than ever before. While there are risks, they should always be weighed against the benefits. Vaccinating your child protects them and others who cannot get vaccinated or are immune compromised.
And yet, even with the availability and supply of vaccines, outbreaks still occur. These outbreaks are generally caused by the breakdown of protection offered by “herd immunity.” If a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, an antigen can be introduced without many illnesses. Those who are vaccinated will be exposed, but their bodies will not replicate the virus. Only a small number of people will get sick, and the outbreak will be contained. However, if a population of largely unvaccinated people come into contact with the virus, it will spread rapidly, and there will be no “herd immunity” to protect the vulnerable members.
As your child’s advocate, it is your responsibility to make informed decisions and rely on trustworthy sources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has informative videos and materials about vaccinations for children and adults. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) describes the process by which vaccine safety is determined. And of course, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and your health care provider can assist you with additional resources and information.
Vaccinations are heralded as one of the most important medical advancements in history and with good cause! Vaccines arm the individual and the masses with protection which can otherwise be gained only through suffering the actual illness.