10 Important Facts About the Life-Changing Power of Vaccines

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With high hopes that a vaccine against COVID-19 will be available soon—and a small but vocal group of vaccine skeptics expressing doubts about the safety of vaccines in general—Prevention wanted to be sure our readers are well-informed. Check out these 10 facts about the way vaccines are made, how they work, and why they save lives.Vaccines build immunity with a small amount of disease. When bacteria or a virus enters your system, it attacks and multiplies, causing infection and triggering your body to manufacture antibodies to fight the infection. But even after you recover, your body remains armed against reinfection with memory cells that can now defeat this invader. A vaccine builds this antibody arsenal by purposely introducing the invader into your body in a form that is either dead or weakened to the point where it can’t do harm. Polio, hepatitis A, and rabies vaccines contain dead virus, while the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), varicella (a.k.a. chickenpox), and rotavirus vaccines are made from weakened virus—strong enough to create an immune response but not powerful enough to make you sick. “You get the immune response that’s the product of natural infection without having …

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