Why vaccines work and yet we can still get infected

We’ve all heard reports of vaccinated individuals still becoming infected and while for the unvaccinated this might be a smug, ‘I told you so’ moment it might be worthwhile reflecting on the possible reasons for this.  Aside from waning vaccine generated immunity which has lead to the widespread eager embrace of booster shots and the monstrously mutating Omicron variant that partially eludes whatever immunity vaccines give us there is a third vitally important explanation to consider. 

 What vaccines do is stimulate our immune systems to manufacture cellular and humoral immunity.  What on earth does this mean?   It means that we make those immune cells that recognise the virus when it reaches the internal cells of our bodies at which times these immune sentinels will hopefully act to neutralise and terminate their presence.   What these immune cells don’t do is prevent the virus from replicating in our nasal passages and our lungs.  This is because the immune system that exists in those parts of our body is separate from our internal immune system.  This immune system has only limited influence and efficacy when it comes to countering the virus that is multiplying in our airways.  We might still get a runny nose and a cough but because we have some form of immunity we might not got severely ill and the virus might be prevented from spreading around our bodies causing extensive havoc.

  With virus multiplying in their noses and lungs vaccinated individuals can still be spreaders of infection although probably less so than the unvaccinated.  If the immune systems of the various parts of our bodies are compartmentalised and require targeted strategies to optimise their surveillance capacity’s, what can we do to achieve this?  Vitamin A is critical for the health of our lungs and it is a nutrient that can be measured with a blood test and boosted if it is low.  Then we need to ensure that we are getting enough vitamin D, also quantifiable with a blood test, as well as vitamin C, zinc and vitamin E.  These in addition to the immune-enhancing diet, avoiding those foods and habits that weaken the immune system, exercise, adequate sleep, favourable genes and a fair share of luck and good fortune.

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