Science 14

A vaccination is an injection of viral material given to an individual to help establish immunity.

When the body encounters the foreign viral material, an immune reaction is triggered. White blood cells differentiate, maturing into B and T cells. B cells help form antibodies, molecules that attack and destroy specific viruses. They also form memory cells to help establish long term immunity.

Two scientists discuss the use of vaccinations on newborns.

Scientist 1

Vaccinations should be administered at birth. Injecting small doses of viral material into newborns will help them to quickly build a natural resistance and immunity to viral pathogens. The vaccination does not contain enough viral material to cause infection. However, the body’s immune system will respond to the trace amounts of viral materials and create antibodies, molecules that defend the body against future and potentially harmful viral infections.

Scientist 2

Vaccinations should not be administered at birth. Newborns do not have a well-established immune system, as they have not been exposed to pathogens while in the womb. Injecting newborns with even a small dosage of viral pathogens could cause a serious infection. Newborns will naturally develop resistance to pathogens and a stronger immune system within one year of birth.