Elizabeth Pollom's vaccination lecture is part historical overview, part science lesson. Although Pollom acknowledges that we've made amazing progress since Edward Jenner's discovery of the small pox vaccine, she contends that we still have much work to do.
Pollum elucidates the slightly mystifying process of how vaccines actually work. When the vaccine enters our bloodstream, it is recognized by an antigen-presenting cell (APC), which will break it down and parade the intruder to other cells in the body, specifically B and T cells. The B cells will begin producing antibodies specific to the offending antigen, marking them either to be destroyed or blocked from binding to other cells. T cells have the capacity to become killer cells in the case of a live attenuated virus. In all cases, however, the B and T Cells become memory cells that will recall this behavior when an actual pathogen is present. To put it simply, vaccinations ensure that we have an army prepared to fend off invaders.
Finally, Pollum addresses issues that science is currently grappling with. For instance, the high rate pathogen mutation or pathogens that have no known immunity (HIV). When talking about vaccination innovation, she lists new techniques such as DNA-based vaccines and virus vector vaccines, as well as more advanced forms of delivery like patches and nasal sprays. The overall message is that vaccination innovation is highly important for the health of entire communities. Despite the fact that 70% of illnesses are down, if not entirely eradicated, vaccination technology needs to continue to evolve and improve.