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Vaccinations are now considered a part of everyday life, but how do they work? Vaccination is a free course that will help those with a background in biology understand the historical development of vaccination, assess the various types of vaccines used today, examine their production and explore the limitations that are placed on vaccination programmes.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- define and use, or recognise definitions and applications of, each of the terms in bold in the course
- use examples from the history of vaccination to illustrate the conduct and outcomes of vaccine strategies to control infectious diseases
- discuss the principle strategies available for developing a vaccine and explain the significance of critical antigens, immunogens and adjuvants in developing effective vaccines
- identify examples of infectious diseases for which effective vaccines are available and some for which they are not. Explain why it has been scientifically difficult or commercially unprofitable to develop vaccines against certain infectious diseases, and why others have been amenable to control by vaccination
- discuss the prospects for developing a vaccine against a named infectious disease, given information on its biology and epidemiology, and on the immune response in human hosts.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Smallpox and the history of vaccination
- 2 Active vaccines and passive immunisation
- 3 Critical antigens and the immune response
- 4 Strategies for vaccine production
- 5 Influences on vaccine efficacy
- 6 Challenges to vaccine development
- 7 Limitations on vaccination programmes
- 8 Internet researches into vaccination issues
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
The course begins with the early history of smallpox – the first infectious disease to be eradicated by a vaccination programme. At the end of section 1, we ask you to read an article on the history of smallpox, then, before continuing further with this course, you should turn to the case study on polio, where we discuss the prospects for making this the second infectious disease to be eradicated by vaccination. At the end of section 5 you will study the mini-lecture on vaccination. You will conclude your study of this chapter by conducting some internet research on the progress of vaccination programmes.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 3 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Biology courses or view the range of currently available OU Biology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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