How do vaccines work?

Ian A. York iayork at
Mon Nov 10 16:16:41 EST 1997

In article <34677324.90B4528F at>,
Davor Matic  <dmatic at> wrote:
>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?

As an introduction, I wrote a couple of pieces on basics of vaccination;
two are at my web page, at 
and for one you can try DejaNews, checking the newsgroup for
something with the title "So You Want to Make A Vaccine!" on 1997/06/02.
(Old database, search string "(~a iayork at & (~g & (~s
vaccine) pulls it up.)

These may answer some of your questions.


    Ian York   (iayork at  <>
    "-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
     very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England

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