If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:6:47

Video transcript

Voiceover: So how many of us remember the first time we were shot? I don't mean by a gun, I mean by that. Our first shot, right, our very first vaccine, and I remember being at the doctor's office as a child, and going in and being vaccinated, just thinking it was the worst thing in the world ever cause it hurt so much! And then, I learned what vaccines are, and it was really helpful for me. So let's talk about that together. So I have two images here, let's get rid of that needle, it's pretty scary. So I have one of the influenza vaccine, labeled Flu, and one of the pneumococcal vaccine, labeled Pneumo. Now, if we're talking about the flu vaccine, we know that the flu vaccine is gonna protect us against the influenza virus. And we know that getting the flu is a pretty crummy thing. Now, we know that the flu vaccine can protect us against three or four different serotypes. So what does that mean? So the flu vaccine comes in a trivalent or a quadrivalent. And, what does that mean? So if you had a trivalent vaccine, it's gonna protect you against three different serotypes of the flu. And serotypes really means strains, right? So different types, whereas the quadrivalent can protect you against four different strains, or serotypes, of the flu. And that's really important with this type of vaccine and this type of virus, because we know that the flu vaccine changes on a yearly basis. And it's important that we're able to keep up with it and protect an individual against the most appropriate strain. And so how does that work? When I say the influenza virus changes, it really does. So let's say that one year, and we'll say this is 2012, that the flu vaccine, excuse me, that the flu virus looked like this. And then let's say that the next year, the flu virus looked like this. And then let's say that in another year it looked like this. So you see that it changes a little bit every single year. And that's why it's important that research and data are able to look at all these changes, and to figure out what the most likely virus is gonna be this year, to protect us against it. Now just like we have a flu vaccine that protects us against three serotypes or four, our pneumococcal vaccine's pretty similar in that we have vaccines that can protect us from anywhere from seven to 23 different strains, and that's pretty important too. Now if you notice in the name, the pneumococcals looks like pneumonia, and it should because pneumococcal diseases actually cause things like pneumonia, and ear infections, and meningitis, all the things that we don't want to get. It protects us against the pneumococci bacteria. So I'm going to go ahead and write pneumococcal, so we know what we're dealing with. Now, what do we have to know about these vaccines? These are inactivated vaccines, so what that means is that it's essentially the killed virus. So if we come over here, I'm gonna draw a picture, and let's say that this is the influenza virus. So, I'm gonna just make it round like this, and then I'm gonna put some green squiggly shell on the outside. Now I want to draw it like this so you can see something. So, if I said that this flu vaccine is inactivated, that means that it's killed. So what we do is we actually destroy the virus, so destroy the pathogen, destroying what causes the infection, what causes all the bad symptoms, but I'm gonna leave that protein shell intact. And I'm gonna leave it intact in the vaccine for a reason. I want the body to recognize this as a foreign invader and build up a defense to it. So how does that work? Let's scroll down here. Now I'm just gonna draw a blood vessel. Now remember that syringe that we saw earlier? That scary syringe? Let's say that that scary syringe has this flu vaccine in it, so it's gonna have this protein shell. So I'm going to draw this protein shell here in the body. Now what's gonna happen? It's been introduced into me through that scary needle, now my white blood cells are gonna show up to the scene. And we know my white blood cells, these are my security guards, right? This is my defense system, they're gonna protect me against anything that's coming to hurt me. In this case, my white blood cells recognize that this guy right here doesn't belong. And so what are they going to do? They're going to attack. So my white blood cells are gonna reach out and they're gonna beat up, or they're gonna attack this foreign invader. Now because this is an inactivated vaccine, that it's not really the flu virus, it's just the protein shell, it's not enough to make me sick. It is enough that my body recognizes it shouldn't be there, and it's going to beat it up, like we said, it's gonna attack it, going to destroy it, and it's gonna remember and put in it's imaginary pocket, it's gonna put in a picture of this flu, this flu virus. That way it's going to remember if this virus ever shows up again, I know how to beat you. Now, because it's still part of the virus, because it still has a protein shell, there's a small chance that it could manifest in us some very, very mild symptoms of the illness. But it's not enough to make us sick. Now who benefits from vaccines? Really anybody! But especially individuals that have lung disease, so let's just draw our lungs here. So, especially someone that has got chronic lung disease, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Somebody that has emphysema. And the reason why they benefit from these vaccines is because they're more likely to get the disease, and they're less likely to be able to fight it off on their own. And then finally I'll end with this last thing. We have something called a vaccine information statement, and sometimes you might see it's called VIS, so Vaccine Information Statement, and this is really a piece of paper that we give to our patients, and you see that I just am writing Flu and Pneumo One here, and what it is, it's a sheet that has information about the vaccine so that the patients are aware of everything about it: what's in it, how it's made, what it's used for, and that way they're clear on the vaccine that they're receiving.