$38 Million Project Targets African Populations for New Insights into Genes, Environment and Health
What is a vaccine?
We’re protected from infectious disease by our immune system, which destroys disease-causing germs – also known as pathogens – when they invade the body. If our immune system isn’t quick or strong enough to prevent pathogens taking hold, then we get ill.
We use vaccines to stop this from happening. A vaccine provides a controlled exposure to a pathogen, training and strengthening the immune system so it can fight that disease quickly and effectively in future. By imitating an infection, the vaccine protects us against the real thing.
Vaccines are one of our most effective health interventions, but are often misunderstood. In this Q&A, we explain what they are, how they work and why they are important.