Because of Covid-19, there is a lot in the news about vaccines. But what exactly is a vaccine and how does it work? Read the article below and identify the statements as True, False or Not Given.

  1. Vaccines will cause you to be ill for a short time.

  2. Vaccines introduce disease-causing germs into your body.

  3. Some vaccines can cause serious illness and death.

  4. The body's immune system creates antibodies after recieving a vaccine.

  5. After a period of time, the vaccine becomes ineffective.

  6. For a vaccine to be effective on the wider population, everyone needs to be vaccinated.

  7. Herd immunity refers to the vaccination of an entire population.


Vaccines give you immunity to a disease without you getting sick first. They are made using killed or weakened versions of the disease-causing germ or parts of the germ (called antigens). For some vaccines, genetic engineering is used to make the antigens used in the vaccine. It’s much safer to get a vaccine than to get the disease it prevents. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds to the vaccine the same way it would to the real germ. It:

  • Recognizes the germ in the vaccine as being foreign.

  • Responds by making antibodies to the germ in the vaccine, just as it would for the real germ.

  • Remembers the germ and how to destroy it. That way, if you are ever exposed to the disease-causing germ in the future, your immune system will be able to quickly destroy it before it has a chance to make you sick. This protection is called immunity.

Vaccines don't just work on an individual level, they protect entire populations. Once enough people are immunized, opportunities for an outbreak of disease become so low even people who aren't immunized benefit. Essentially, a bacteria or virus simply won't have enough eligible hosts to establish a foothold and will eventually die out entirely. This phenomenon is called "herd immunity" or "community immunity," and it has allowed once-devastating diseases to be eliminated entirely, without needing to vaccinate every individual.

This is critical because there will always be a percentage of the population that cannot be vaccinated, including infants, young children, the elderly, people with severe allergies, pregnant women, or people with compromised immune systems. Thanks to herd immunity, these people are kept safe because diseases are never given a chance to spread through a population.

When you are ready, enter your answers in the sheet below.


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