What is an Immunization and How do they Work?

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Dr. Maupin explains immunizations from a scientific medical perspective.

The last year and a half, many new words have been introduced into common daily conversations of Americans, and one of these words is immunization, a word that was previously limited to use in the doctor’s office.

Since 2020, TV media and social media has used the word immunization often and in many ways that are not related to an individual’s medical care.  Journalists have written and spoken about immunizations in the following ways:

  • in a positive way as a life-saving treatment to prevent disease and the spread of disease
  • in a negative way, as a dangerous injection that might cause future disease for those people who receive it
  • as a political tool which might be used to force individuals to comply with mandates that infringe on their freedom of choice in the US, or conversely to polarize the population instigating fear and distraction from other more calamitous situations in the world (e.g. Afghanistan being taken over by the Taliban, and the disaster at the southern border of the US);
  • as an entitlement belonging to the citizens of the wealthiest nations used to increase their global power over poor countries who cannot afford to immunize their citizens and therefore will lose population and power due to the attrition of their population.

We have all been witness to these TV, Radio, and social media discussions. I am not a political expert.  I am a medical expert and today I will not comment on any of these current definitions or uses of the word immunization. I believe that most of the controversy today involving whether an individual should choose to take an immunization or not is based on lack of understanding of how immunizations work, and how we can make them more effective. Real information by real physicians who take care of individual patients with the patients’ best interest in mind is what citizens need to hear so they can make informed decisions about their own health. 

The following three lectures will include a medical definition for the word immunization and explain how immunizations work in the human body. In the second lecture I will discuss who will likely benefit medically from these preventive injections and who will not, and in the third, I will recommend how to improve your immune system which will both decrease your susceptibility to viruses and make your response to an immunization more protective.


***Please note that up until 2020 when the two covid vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were created, all vaccines were formulated  from pieces of dead virus,  including the Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine, the flu vaccine, the HPV vaccine, the Shingles vaccine, etc., and a few contained live viruses which actually gave you a mild case of the disease you were trying to prevent, to stimulate the immune system to make antibodies.


The two new Covid vaccines are different from both types of vaccines I have listed and I will not speak about them as they are completely new to the world of immunizations, and I am not an expert in this type of injection.. Today we will speak of the immunizations available before 2020 plus one covid vaccine by Johnson and Johnson.

First let’s get down to what an immunization really is—the definition of immunization.  An immunization is an injection, or a drop of liquid (like the polio immunization that was given as a red drop of liquid on a sugar cube that you took orally), given to an individual to stimulate a person’s own immune system (white blood cells, B cells, T cells, T helper cells, T killer cells) to activate and kill a specific virus. This immune response is done by exposing a person to a piece of dead virus, that cannot infect him, but which looks enough like the whole virus to sensitize and protect the body against succumbing to a future exposure to that particular virus.  When a future exposure to that virus does occur in a healthy individual who has been immunized, the circulating antibodies kill the virus before it infects a person’s cells.

The trick to an immunization being effective is the health of your own immune system, which is affected by age, nutrition, other diseases, medications and diet. The immunization itself does not kill a virus!  The immunization stimulates your own immune system, to make antibodies and if you are not healthy, then the immunization may not be effective! Being healthy and young is your best defense against getting a disease and also to responding and being protected by an immunization! 

The necessary elements for a human being to be adequately protected from a virus by an immunization include:

  • A healthy immune system with adequate numbers of white blood cells.
  • Good Nutrition
  • Lack of chronic inflammation (chronic inflammation is found in obese people, and those people with autoimmune diseases, and chronic joint pain from injury)
  • As people get older, they get sicker, and their immunizations don’t work as well or last as long. This is true because as people age their thymus gland (the creator of white blood cells) shrinks and becomes hypoactive after age 60. When we are children our thymus gland is very large, and our immunity is excellent.   As people get old the thymus gland shrinks and they produce inadequate numbers of white blood cells, and the amount of antibody produced when exposed to a virus is inadequate. This is one of the reasons people over 60 have more communicable diseases like pneumonia, as well other diseases that require large number of healthy immune cells to kill cancer cells.
  • Normal blood sugar –intake of a lot of sugar containing food and drinks and carbohydrates, or the presence of Diabetes, decreases the ability of a person’s immune system to function.
  • Young healthy levels of Testosterone and Growth Hormone. Both of these hormones stimulate white blood cell production and modulate the activity of the thymus. These two hormones decrease and become deficient as we age, and the activity and effectiveness of the immune system parallels the drop of these two hormones.
  • Daily moderate exercise. Sitting all day slows your immune response and can accelerate the drop in hormones and the number of white blood cells. To stay healthy, you must exercise every day.
  • Control of stress. High stress, and major negative life events (like divorce, loss of family members, money worries, etc.) can cause the hormone, Cortisol from your adrenal gland, to increase over long periods of time. This blunts the effect of White blood cells to kill cancer cells and to make antibodies.

Plainly your best chance of having a successful immunization is if you are healthy, at ideal weight and young (under 60), or over 60 and replacing your testosterone and or stimulating your growth hormone.  When immunizations are not effective and an immunized person gets a virus anyway, the person generally has one or more health problems plus some of the listed factors that blunt the effect of an immunization.

We can clean up our lives, eat a healthy diet, and take supplements and testosterone or stimulate growth hormone to improve our response to a vaccine. Of course, we cannot change the past or our age or genetics.  Optimizing our health is very important to preventing infection and improving the effect of an immunization.  Next week we will talk about more risk factors that you can use to improve your odds of having an excellent protective immunization against any virus.

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author.

www.BioBalanceHealth.com  (314) 993-0963

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