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Vaccines have been a groundbreaking discovery in the field of healthcare. They are used world over to prevent illness and death. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that licensed vaccines are currently available for twenty-five different preventable infections.

Fun facts about vaccines

  • According to WHO, vaccines prevent 2 to 3 million deaths per year.
  • Polio has been eradicated from most countries (except Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan).
  • Between 2000 and 2016, the worldwide rate of measles deaths fell by 86 percent.

Make sure your children are vaccinated at birth and get all their shots according to the EPI vaccination schedule in Pakistan. If you aren’t aware of it ask your primary healthcare provider. You can find a doctor in Pakistan at My live doctors and ask your question online. 

What is a vaccine anyway?

A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides immunity against a particular disease. Several diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, tuberculosis and polio have vaccines and are given to children at different times after birth so they develop immunity against these diseases. 

The administration of vaccines is called vaccination. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases. Vaccines have resulted in the widespread immunity and worldwide eradication of smallpox. It has largely resulted in the decline of diseases such as polio, measles, and tetanus from much of the world.

Unfortunately Pakistan is still not declared polio-free hence polio campaigns are carried out across the country where polio workers go door to door to vaccinate children. Make sure you et your child vaccinated. For more information about polio vaccine you can find a doctor online. Download an online doctor app and find a doctor in Pakistan in seconds. 

How do vaccines work?

A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism (bacteria or virus) but has been weakened or killed before using it in the vaccine. Different parts of the microbe like its toxins, or one of its surface proteins may be used. 

Vaccines teach the body's immune system to recognize foreign invaders as a threat. A healthy immune system is composed of different types of cells. These cells defend against and remove harmful agents. However, they have to recognize that an invader is dangerous first. 

Vaccines trigger an immune response to destroy it and recognize it in case of future encounters. It does this by forming memory cells. This allows for a faster response to the disease in the future. Vaccination teaches the body to recognize new diseases by directing the body to make antibodies against antigens of different pathogens (disease causing organisms). 

To learn more about how vaccines work ask your primary care physician or find a doctor in Pakistan. Now you don’t need to wait days to schedule an appointment for simple medical advice. Online healthcare apps like My live doctors can instantly connect you with qualified online doctor in Lahore, online doctor in Karachi or any city in Pakistan. 

What is a vaccine made up of? 

Vaccines comprise of different parts of a micro-organism that is a safer version of a disease. This can take the form of:

  • a protein or sugar from the pathogen
  • a dead or inactivated form of a pathogen
  • a toxoid made by a pathogen
  • a weakened pathogen

When you get a shot, the body responds to the vaccine by building an adaptive immune response. This helps equip the body to fight off an actual infection.

Most vaccines consist of two parts. The first is the antigen, the piece of the pathogen your body must learn to recognize. The second is the adjuvant, the part that sends a danger signal to your body. It causes your immune system to respond more quickly and intensely against the antigen mimicking an infection. This way, your body develops the immunity it needs.

You can find an online doctor in Pakistan on your phone and ask them about what vaccines contain. 

Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are generally considered to be safe. They’re meticulously tested and go through many rounds of study, examination, and research before they’re used with the general public. The bulk of research and evidence based studies show that vaccines are safe to use. This does not mean that they are free of side effects but that side effects are rare. Side effects that do occur are typically mild.

Experts emphasize the importance of a vaccine because there is greater risk for most individuals if they get the actual disease. If you choose not to get a vaccine and potentially get sick, the illness may be far worse than the potential side effects of the vaccine. It could be fatal. 

If you may have more questions about the safety of vaccines find an online doctor in Pakistan. Download the My live doctors app on your smartphone and book an online doctor appointment and find an online doctor in Lahore or whatever city you're in. Discuss your concerns with an online physician and get expert medical advice from the convenience of your own home. 

Most side effects from a vaccine injection are mild and some people don’t experience side effects at all.

Some side effects include:

  • pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • joint pain near the injection site
  • muscle weakness
  • low-grade to high fever
  • sleep disturbances
  • fatigue

More rare side effects are:

  • memory loss
  • complete muscle paralysis on a particular area of the body
  • hearing or vision loss
  • seizures

Certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of getting side effects after a shot. These risk factors include:

  • having a weak or suppressed immune system
  • being sick at the time you receive a vaccine
  • having a family or personal history of vaccine reactions

If you or your child experience any of the side effects contact your doctor immediately. In case of redness or swelling at injection site, apply ice on it. To get a medical opinion on it, use My live doctors to find a doctor in Pakistan. Send a picture of the injection site to your online doctor. It’s as simple as that. 

Types of vaccines

There are 4 types of vaccines. 

  • Killed (inactivated) vaccines are made from a virus or bacterium that is not living.
  • Live vaccines that are weakened (attenuated) version of a virus or bacterium.
  • Toxoid vaccines are made of a chemical or toxin that is made by bacteria or viruses. The tetanus shot is a type of toxoid vaccine.
  • Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines take a structural component from a virus or bacterium.

The famous phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ rings true in this case. For more information on the flu shot and other ways you can prevent illness, go to