How Do Vaccines Work?
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||high interest, readability grades 4 to 6
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||additional, destruction, smallpox, chickenpox, injection, lifetime, series, virus, polio, actually, shots, tetanus, tricky, schools, attack, doctor
How Do Vaccines Work?
By Patti Hutchison
1 "Ouch!" Joe exclaimed. "That hurt!" Joe's doctor had just given him a flu shot.
2 "I know it hurts," Dr. Smith said. "But that few seconds of pain is worth it. Now you won't have to put up with a week or so of being sick with the flu."
3 You have been getting shots like the one that Joe received since you were a tiny baby. Shots like these are called vaccinations. They help keep you healthy. Vaccines help your body fight disease.
4 Doctors have developed many vaccines. Before they were developed, millions of people died or were crippled by some diseases. Smallpox and polio have been almost completely wiped out. Most young children never get measles, mumps, or chickenpox. Maybe you have never even heard of these diseases!
5 How do vaccines help your body fight off these diseases? The vaccines are made from the germ, the bacteria or virus, that causes the disease. How can that be? Why do vaccines not make you sick? It is because vaccines are created to teach your body how to identify and stop an infection. The germs used in vaccines have be weakened, killed, or inactivated. Different vaccines work in different ways, but they use a harmless form of the bacteria or virus that causes the illness. Sometimes vaccines contain dead bacteria. Sometimes they contain weakened viruses or bacteria. Sometimes they contain pieces of an inactive virus. Most of the time, vaccines are put into your body by injection (a shot). When you get a shot, the vaccine enters your body. Your body identifies the dead or weakened bacteria or the pieces of the virus in the vaccine as an invader. It mounts an attack!
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