Vaccination is a way of protecting you against harmful diseases, before you come into contact with them. It uses your body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger. Vaccines train your immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds. It recognises the invading germ, such as the virus or bacteria, produces antibodies (proteins produced naturally by the immune system to fight disease) and remembers the disease and how to fight it. If you are then exposed to the germ in the future, your immune system can quickly destroy it before you become unwell.
However, vaccinations can, sometimes, have down sides. In this section I analyse the research and look at the risk/benefit as well as other aspects of many different types of vaccinations programmes.