Vaccination and Immunity: Immunological Memory, Vaccination, Passive Immunity

Edited by Jamie (ScienceAid Editor), Taylor (ScienceAid Editor)

Vaccination and Immunity

Immunological Memory

After an immune response, memory cells are produced. These lay dormant in the lymphatic system for many years. If they detect a pathogen with the specific antigen, they rapidly clone, and secrete antibodies. This means that secondary exposure to a pathogen produces a much more rapid secondary response, and you are not as badly affected the second time the virus appears. This is an important function in vaccinations. See the image below.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

You might think it odd then, that we can suffer from flu several times. The reason is that there are different types: influenza - type A, B and C, and within these types of flu, there are various strains. This variation in pathogens means that it is difficult to develop an immunity to so many different pathogens.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help


A vaccine takes advantage of the secondary response effect. It contains an antigen from pathogens, and this induces the production of memory cells - giving protection from infection by that particular organism.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

There are several types of vaccine used, these are:

Name and Example Production
Killed virulent organisms.

Whooping cough.

The pathogen is killed and the antigens remain so an immune response is induced without the pathogen spreading.
Live non-virulent strains.


A strain of pathogen that doesn't cause disease but still causes antibody production.
Modified toxins.


A modified version of toxin treated with heat or chemicals, shouldn't produce symptoms but still triggers a response.
Isolated antigens from a pathogen.


The antigen is separated from the pathogen and injected separately.
Genetically engineered antigens.

Hepatitis B

The antigens have been isolated and made by genetic engineering, These are injected without the virus.

Passive Immunity

This is when the antibodies themselves are given to prevent infection. This occurs naturally for babies when a type of milk called colostrum is produced by mothers that contains lots of antibodies. Passive immunity can also be artificially induced if someone is given an antibody by injection.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Passive immunity is only temporary and will last a few months at most. This is because they are not your own antibodies and they will be removed by the body.

Referencing this Article

If you need to reference this article in your work, you can copy-paste the following depending on your required format:

APA (American Psychological Association)
Vaccination and Immunity: Immunological Memory, Vaccination, Passive Immunity. (2017). In ScienceAid. Retrieved Nov 28, 2023, from

MLA (Modern Language Association) "Vaccination and Immunity: Immunological Memory, Vaccination, Passive Immunity." ScienceAid, Accessed 28 Nov 2023.

Chicago / Turabian "Vaccination and Immunity: Immunological Memory, Vaccination, Passive Immunity." Accessed Nov 28, 2023.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


ScienceAid welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Article Info

Categories : Micro

Recent edits by: Jamie (ScienceAid Editor)

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 3,372 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No