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How do vaccines work?

Vaccination protects people against harmful infections. Infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses and have serious health complications and in some instances can be fatal.

Immunisation uses the body’s natural defence mechanism to build resistance to specific infections. When an immunised person comes in contact with that disease in the future, their immune system will respond to prevent them developing the disease.

The Department of Health considers it is important to have vaccinations to protect you and your family against dangerous or life-threatening diseases.

What is the difference between ‘vaccination’ and ‘immunisation’?

‘Vaccination’ is the term used for giving a vaccine (by injection or the swallowing of drops). The term ‘Immunisation’ is the process of both having the vaccine and becoming immune to the disease as a result of the vaccine.

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