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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.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 14 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 2nd March 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Biology
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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!



Unit image

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 Science [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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