Why Vaccines Matter: The Ultimate Guide to Protection and Prevention

Why Vaccines Matter
25 Apr 2024
10 mins
Table Of Content
Why Vaccines Matter: The Ultimate Guide to Protection and Prevention

    Have you considered why vaccines are vital? And do you know where these vaccines are made? Let us explore the world of vaccines together to learn their importance and how they keep us safe. Vaccines are our guardians, protecting us from dangerous diseases and keeping us healthy. But how do they work, and why are they so important? Let us explore them in detail.


    What are vaccines?


    Vaccines are medicinal products designed to prevent diseases by preparing the immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, without causing illness. These typically contain:

    • Weakened or killed pathogens: These are forms of the virus or bacterium that have been modified in a lab so that they cannot cause disease.
    • Adjuvants: Some vaccines also include chemical substances that enhance the immune response, making the vaccine more effective in generating immunity.

    What happens when these vaccines enter our bodies?


    When a vaccine is administered, it simulates an infection. This "false infection" does not cause illness but prompts the immune system to respond as if it were a real infection. The immune system then:

    • Develop antibodies: These are proteins that fight off the invaders.
    • Creates memory cells: These cells remember the pathogen and how to fight it, providing long-term protection.


    Why is vaccination important?


    • Vaccination is not only critical for personal health but also for public health because it
    • Prevents the spread of diseases: By reducing the number of susceptible individuals, vaccines help control outbreaks.
    • Protects vulnerable populations: Some individuals cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions; widespread vaccination helps shield them from disease through herd immunity.
    • Saves lives and reduces disease severity: Vaccines reduce the risk of infection and can make illnesses less severe for those who do get sick.

    How does a vaccine work when it encounters the pathogen it is intended to target?


    You might wonder, "How does this vaccine actually work and trigger our immune system?" Well, it operates on a simple memory mechanism. When you get a vaccine, your body's defense system, called the immune system, gets to work. Here is what happens:


    • It recognizes the invading germ, like a virus or bacteria.
    • It creates particular proteins called antibodies to fight off the disease.
    • It remembers the disease and how to fight it. So, if you reencounter the germ later, your immune system can quickly destroy it before you get sick.
    • Vaccines are a smart and safe way to trigger this immune response in your body without making you sick.


    Our immune systems are like super detectives; they remember how to fight off diseases. After getting one or more doses of a vaccine, we usually stay protected against the disease for a long time — sometimes for years, decades, or even a lifetime. This is why vaccines are so powerful. Instead of waiting to treat a disease after it shows up, vaccines stop us from getting sick in the first place.

    When should you or your child get vaccinated?


    Vaccines protect us throughout our lives, from birth to old age. Most countries give you a vaccination card to keep track of the vaccines you or your child have had and when you need more. It is essential to keep all your vaccines up-to-date. 

    In India, you can refer to the National Immunization Schedule for infants, children, and pregnant women, provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

    If we delay getting vaccinated, we risk getting very sick. Waiting until there is an outbreak of a severe illness, like measles, might not be enough time for the vaccine to work correctly, especially if we need more than one dose.

    If you or your child missed any vaccines, talk to your doctor about catching up. It is essential to stay protected.


    Why do you need vaccination?


    You might also wonder, despite having a good immune system, why you should get vaccinated. There are also anti-vaccine stories and conspiracies circulating. However, it is important to remember that these stories lack evidence or scientific backing. Therefore, it is crucial to refer to trusted sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of India for vaccination information. 


    Now, coming to the question of why you need vaccines? Without vaccines, you may face severe risks of illness and disability from diseases like measles, meningitis, pneumonia, tetanus, and polio. Many of these diseases can be life-threatening. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that childhood vaccines alone save over 4 million lives every year. Even though some diseases may seem rare, the germs that cause them still exist in various parts of the world. Nowadays, infectious diseases can easily spread across borders and affect anyone who isn't protected.



    There are two main reasons to get vaccinated: to protect ourselves and to protect those around us. Since not everyone can get vaccinated—including very young babies, people with serious illnesses, or certain allergies—they rely on others to keep them safe from vaccine-preventable diseases.


    What diseases do vaccines protect us from?


    Vaccines guard against various diseases, such as:

    • Cervical cancer
    • Cholera
    • COVID-19
    • Diphtheria
    • Ebola virus disease
    • Hepatitis B
    • Influenza
    • Japanese encephalitis
    • Measles
    • Meningitis
    • Mumps
    • Pertussis
    • Pneumonia
    • Polio
    • Rabies
    • Rotavirus
    • Rubella
    • Tetanus
    • Typhoid
    • Varicella
    • Yellow fever


    Some vaccines are still being tested and are not widely available yet. The vaccines you need might vary depending on location, travel plans, or occupation. Talk to your healthcare provider to know which vaccines are necessary for you and your family.

    Fact sheet for Vaccine

    What Vaccines Do?What Vaccines Don't?
    • Immunity acquired through vaccination is stronger than our natural immunity.
    • Protect us from serious and deadly diseases.
    • Undergoes various safety tests before being introduced and is constantly monitored for side effects after introduction.
    • Can completely eradicate some diseases if a sufficient number of people are vaccinated.
    • Vaccines do not contain toxic ingredients
    • Do not weaken our immune system
    • Do not contain toxic elements like thiomersal (a mercury-based preservative)
    • Do not cause autism
    • Cause mild side effects that will subside in 2-3 days


    The Bottom Line


    In a world where diseases can easily cross borders, vaccines are our best defense. They save millions of lives every year and help keep our communities safe and healthy. So, let us trust in the power of vaccines and ensure everyone has access to them. After all, a healthy world is a happier world for us all.

    Written by
    Dr. VijayalakshmiMedical Content Writer
    AboutDr. Vijayalakshmi is a Medical Content Writer at MrMed. She completed her Bachelor of Dentistry (BDS) from Sri Ramakrishna Dental College, Coimbatore, in 2022, where she expertise in dental and clinical research. During her internship, she has also worked on various research projects and presented scientific papers in national UG seminars. Post her UG, she has upskilled in pharmacovigilance regulations and clinical trial methodology through certification courses. She is proficient in researching, writing, editing, and proofreading medical content and blogs.
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