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When there is an infection in the body, the immune system produces proteins to help fight off germs that cause infections – these are called antibodies. In some cases the antibodies will help to completely fight off the infection – this is the case when someone catches a cold or hepatitis A. There are also antibodies produced from vaccines to prevent future infections – such as the hepatitis A vaccine.
There are two types of vaccines:
- A therapeutic vaccine will fight off an existing infection: these work by tricking the immune system into fighting an existing infection
- A protective vaccine given to prevent an infection: these stimulate the body’s immune system to produce proteins called antibodies to fight off a future infection.