vaccines are like soldiers


August 21, 2020

When you were young during outbreaks of chickenpox, I guess you must have heard that children who contracted the disease never got it twice?

In this article, I’m going to explain in simple terms how your body immune system works to enable you to articulate how vaccines act, this is going to be quite interesting.

Your body has a military (immune system) with white blood cells (soldiers) that defend her territory (your body) from enemies or invaders (microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or even cancerous cells).

When we say you have immunity for example against the chickenpox virus (Varicella-zoster virus) infection, we simply mean your body can successfully fight or prevent the chickenpox virus from invading and infecting you, thus you are protected, but how did it do this is the one million dollar question? Isn’t it.

How your body military system works

Just like the defence system have units and Special Forces, your body immune system is structured similarly, and executes her mission of protection in several ways which include;

  • The Combatant Unit (Cell-Mediated Immunity Unit): The soldiers under this unit use their bare hands to fight enemies (no weapons). The combatants are very tolerant, in the sense that they forgive you the first time you attack them especially if the enemy uses the guerrilla tactics of hit and run, however, they get sensitized and take note of you and the tactics you operate with, more like they profile the enemy.

Furthermore, on the subsequent attack from a similar enemy, these soldiers attack violently showing no mercy with intent to kill the enemy.

Examples of such body soldiers under this unit are the T lymphocytes and macrophages (large cells that surround, engulf, and digest microorganisms).

Other cells under this unit are the Special detective cells that act like FBI’s, they are the memory T lymphocytes, what they do is to recognize enemies that have attacked in the past, and inform the Combatants, so they prepare towards next time in case the same enemy wants to lay an ambush.

This unit in your body is what protects you from viral infections, fungal infections, and some bacterial infections.

  • The Military Engineers (Humoral Immunity Unit):Soldiers under this unit manufactures weapons (antibodies) specifically for each enemy (antigen), medically speaking soldiers here are called the B lymphocytes. For example, if the chickenpox virus (antigen) attacks you, during the process of attack and after the exposure, they develop a weapon (antibody) against the virus, which will be used to defend your body on next exposure, once bitten twice shy, isn’t it?. However, there is a challenge in the sense that some of the weapons developed have short expiry dates and lasts for a short period, whereas, others have long expiry dates and last for a lifetime for example when you are exposed to chickenpox for the first time and have no immunity to the disease. Your body immediately begins to manufacture weapons (antibodies under this unit) against the chickenpox virus, because the production of enough weapons against the chickenpox virus takes time you get the disease. However, your body continues to manufacture weapons against the disease, so that the next time this invader attacks they are fully armed and prepared to wage a successful war against her. Fortunately, the weapon produced against the chickenpox virus lasts for a lifetime, and that is the simple reason you don’t get the chickenpox infection twice.

What about for diseases that your body can’t produce weapons that would last for a lifetime, how do you get protected? Here is where humans have developed vaccines to help out, watch out for our next article.

For all your vaccination needs contact Inocul8 on 08160962414.



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