Health Guidance Malaysia

Vaccines: Training Your Immune System to Win the Fight

By Kausalyaa Kaliapan

“Don’t get vaccinated, they are not safe! They’re made up of germs! You might end up having a heart attack or even worse, dying after getting one!”

These are some of the phrases we used to hear when the World Health Organization (WHO) and our government made vaccination compulsory during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many of us fell for these rumours circulating on social media, which made us sceptical about getting vaccinated.

Instead, we should have taken the time to understand the science behind vaccine development. Vaccines are meticulously developed by expert scientists with extensive knowledge in the field. They undergo rigorous research and clinical testing to ensure safety and effectiveness before being distributed to the public.

Think of vaccines as trainers for your immune system. They teach your body how to defend itself against diseases by creating antibodies to build a protection. When you get vaccinated, your immune system gets a workout. It learns to recognize harmful germs, like viruses or bacteria, and starts making antibodies; these are like the little soldiers that fight off the disease.

Here’s the cool part; once your immune system knows how to beat the disease, it remembers. So, even if you encounter the same germ again, your immune system can swiftly tackle the germ, preventing the disease from taking hold and making you sick, often without you realizing it. It basically gives your body a head start in the fight against illness.

Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective method of shielding yourself from harmful diseases before ever encountering them. It harnesses your body’s natural defences to build resistance against specific infections, making your immune system stronger in the process.

Amidst curiosity about vaccine composition, it is essential to understand that all components are rigorously vetted for safety and efficacy before human administration. Ingredients typically include the antigen, presenting a weakened or inactivated form of the pathogen, training our immune systems for future encounters.

Adjuvants further enhance immune response, optimizing vaccine performance, while preservatives maintain effectiveness over time. Additionally, stabilizers ensure vaccine integrity during storage and transport, ensuring efficacy when administered.

Hence, vaccination emerges as a secure and ingenious method to prompt an immune response within the body, without causing illness. Our immune systems are designed with an innate ability to retain memory. Following exposure to one or more doses of a vaccine, we commonly sustain protection against a disease for extended periods, ranging from years to decades, or even a lifetime.

This enduring immunity underscores the remarkable efficacy of vaccines. Rather than addressing a disease post-manifestation, vaccines proactively prevent us from falling ill in the first place.


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