How do vaccines work?

Davor Matic dmatic at
Mon Nov 10 15:48:36 EST 1997

I have some pretty basic questions about the immune system "memory".

How does the immune system remember that you either had an illness, or
you have been vaccinated against it?  What is the mechanism for storing
this kind of information?  It is done by incorporating various segments
of the virus DNA into the DNA of the immune system, or perhaps something
else?  What is the name of the cells that remember this information?
Why do we need booster shots?

I'm looking for a pretty basic answer to satisfy my own curiosity, and a
disagreement with a friend on this subject :-)

Your reply is appreciated.  Please send me email at dmatic at


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