The meaning of a vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. It contains weakened, killed, or partial forms of a pathogen (bacteria, virus, or other microorganisms) or the toxins produced by the pathogen. When administered to a person, a vaccine stimulates the immune system to recognize the pathogen as foreign and mount an immune response against it. This immune response creates memory cells that “remember” the pathogen, allowing the immune system to respond more rapidly and effectively if the person is later exposed to the actual, disease-causing form of the pathogen.
Related Glossary Terms
- Immunization: The process of administering a vaccine to induce immunity against a specific disease.
- Immunity: The ability of the body to resist and fight off infections caused by pathogens, either through natural exposure or vaccination.
- Antigen: A substance present on the surface of a pathogen that triggers an immune response. Vaccines contain antigens to stimulate the production of antibodies.
- Antibody: A protein produced by the immune system in response to the presence of antigens. Antibodies help neutralize or eliminate pathogens.
- Adjuvant: A substance added to some vaccines to enhance the body’s immune response to the antigen.
- Booster Shot: An additional dose of a vaccine given after the primary vaccination series to reinforce and extend immunity.
- Herd Immunity: When a significant portion of a population becomes immune to a disease, either through vaccination or previous infections, reducing the likelihood of disease transmission to vulnerable individuals.
- Live Attenuated Vaccine: A vaccine containing weakened but live forms of the pathogen that can still replicate but typically cause only mild or asymptomatic infections.
- Inactivated Vaccine: A vaccine containing killed forms of the pathogen that cannot replicate but can still stimulate an immune response.
- Subunit Vaccine: A vaccine that contains only specific antigens from the pathogen rather than the whole organism.
- mRNA Vaccine: A type of vaccine that uses messenger RNA to instruct cells to produce a protein similar to the pathogen’s antigen, triggering an immune response.
- Vaccine Efficacy: The percentage reduction in disease incidence in vaccinated individuals compared to unvaccinated individuals under controlled conditions.
- Vaccine Safety: The evaluation of potential risks and adverse effects associated with vaccines to ensure their safety and minimize any potential harm.
Vaccines play a crucial role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting individuals and communities from serious illnesses. They have been instrumental in reducing the prevalence of many deadly diseases worldwide. Vaccine Definition & Meaning ( Date. July 26, 2023 23:53:01 )