Vaccinations have been one of the most effective methods to prevent disease and have helped to lower mortality associated with infectious diseases worldwide. They are designed to prevent disease, rather than treat a disease once you have caught it.

A vaccine is usually made from weak or inactive versions of the same microbes that make us ill. In some cases, the vaccines are made from cells which are similar to, but not exact copies of, the microbe cells that make us ill. Some diseases are caused by a toxin the microbe produces so some vaccines contain a substance that is similar to the toxin known as a toxoid.

Herd Immunity is a type of immunity which occurs when the vaccination of a portion of a population (or herd) provides protection to unvaccinated individuals. If enough of a population is vaccinated, unvaccinated individuals are less likely to come into contact with the disease due to its decreased prevalence. It is important to maintain herd immunity as some people are unable to have vaccinations.

In this lesson plan, students watch a series of videos and participate in class discussion around how vaccines work to protect us from infection. They also take part in a debate to understand different perceptions of vaccines and learn how facts can be used to address common misconceptions.

Learning Outcomes:

  • All students will:
  • Understand that vaccinations help individuals to develop immunity against an infection(s) and helps to fight off the infection(s)
  • Understand why vaccines are important to students now and throughout their life
  • Understand the important diseases prevented by vaccines, and why these are important to young people, including students
  • Most students will:
  • Understand how the media, and epidemics, can affect vaccine uptake positively and negatively

Activities Include:

Curriculum Links:

  • Science:
    • Scientific thinking
    • Experimental skills and strategies
    • Analysis and evaluation
  • Biology:
    • Cells
    • Health and disease
    • Health and prevention
  • English:
    • Reading
    • Writing
  • Art & Design:
    • Graphic communication