How Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccinations have been a very controversial topic, yet their importance cannot be denied. It is an integral part of the family and public health. Vaccines end the spread of contagious and dangerous diseases such as measles, polio, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough, diphtheria, and HPV.

The importance of vaccines was first noticeable in the outbreak of smallpox and the discovery of the smallpox vaccine. The disease killed millions of people around the world. After the vaccine was given to people, there was a drastic decline in smallpox. AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale provides a variety of vaccinations to all patients. Be sure to call ahead to ensure the availability of certain vaccines

How the body responds to viruses & bacteria

Viruses and bacteria can infect the body through a cough or sneeze droplets, or bites from an infected animal. Bacteria invade the body through open cuts, contact with an infected object, and even contact with an infected person. 

When this happens, the body responds by increasing blood flow and sending cells from the immune system to destroy the bacteria. The immune system releases antibodies that make the bacteria’s toxins inactive so that the bacteria are eliminated.     

For viruses, special cells of the immune system are released, which circulate the body looking for infections. These special cells attack and destroy the cells invaded and corrupted by the virus to eliminate and eradicate the virus infection from the body.

How vaccines can help

Vaccines help the body to develop immunity by imitating an infection. These types of infections cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. Often, after vaccination, the imitated infection may have minor symptoms, such as fever. This indicates the body is building its immune system during this stage.

Once the body recovers from the introduced infection, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes, as well as B-lymphocytes. These memories will remember how to fight that disease in the future. This means that when that person is infected by the virus or bacteria again in the future. The immune system readily recognizes the virus and immediately responds by sending antibodies specifically produced to attack and destroy the virus or bacteria.

Herd Immunity

Herd immunity, like the words suggest, relates to the curb of the spread of diseases. Herd immunity provides indirect protection from a disease to a large population. Herd immunity is when a larger percentage of the population is immune to a disease. This immunity indirectly protects those who are not resistant to the disease. 

For instance, in a country of 10,000 people, herd immunity is achieved when about 8,000 are immune to a particular disease. This means that four out of every five persons who come in contact with someone that has been infected with the disease won’t get infected. This then ends up controlling the disease. 

The importance of vaccination cannot be overemphasized. Children and even adults must get vaccinated to strengthen their immune systems to fight the spread of diseases and keep the community safe and healthy.  


3700 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242

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Our mission is to provide the best healthcare possible in a kind and caring environment, in an economical manner, while respecting the rights of all of our patients, at times and locations convenient to the patient.

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