How Does a Vaccine Work?

Henry Belcaster
Henry Belcaster
3 min read

Morning Vaxxers!

We hear a lot about vaccines nowadays thanks to the big C.O.V.I.D.

But, how do they even work?

So, its 1796.

And we’ve got this scientist dude, Edward Jenner:

Eddy decides it’s a good idea to inject this 8 year old kid with material from a Cowpox virus…

He thinks that it might protect the kid against cowpox’s deadly cousin THE SMALLPOX VIRUS:

Luckily, the kid did not die a horrible painful death.

Not only that.

He actually built an immunity against Smallpox.

But, why did it work?

Well, when foreign microbes invade us:

The immune system triggers a bunch of responses in an attempt to identify and remove them from our bodies.

Signs this is working include:




and Fever:

But we also have another response which is a little less gross called:

Adaptive Immunity.

Special cells called B cells and T cells are recruited to fight microbes:

They also record information about microbes, including what they look like + how best to fight them:

So when Edward Jenner injected the kid with the cowpox virus — a lesser version of Smallpox — the kid’s immune system went to work:

Fighting the weak cowpox virus, learning all its moves and weaknesses.

So that if the kid were to catch the much more deadly Smallpox…

His immune system already knows how to fight it!

Thanks Edward, for risking that kid’s life :)

Stay Cute,
Reece, Henry & Dylan 🌈

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