Help immunologists to understand our perception of vaccination
We have been creating immunity to disease for centuries
The process of artificially and pre-emptively creating immunity to an infectious disease has existed for centuries. Yet we can still find the concept itself to be ingenious, indispensable or intimidating, depending on our backgrounds and beliefs. Scientists at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Trinity College Dublin are trying to understand how these backgrounds and beliefs can affect our overall perception of vaccination. By filling out the questionnaire included here, you will help them discern how best to engage Irish society when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious disease.
The development of vaccines can be traced back to early physicians in Ancient Greece and China who observed that survivors of plagues did not become reinfected with disease. At the end of the Eighteenth Century, the physician and scientist Edward Jenner developed the modern version of the vaccination. He showed that if a person was administered a substance containing weakened or dead forms of a virus or bacterium, their immune system would be stimulated into creating the necessary cells needed to fight the disease caused by that virus or bacterium. Their immune system would then remember how to create those cells, or antibodies, ensuring protection from that disease. Vaccines subsequently became available around the world.
In recent years, healthcare professionals have been actively finding new ways to engage the public in their research. While citizen science encourages collaborations between professional and non-professional scientists, such partnerships can be complicated for certain fields of research, like clinical research.
The involvement of wider society in helping to carry out health-related research is often described as PPI (public & patient involvement) and is becoming increasingly important for researchers to incorporate into their work.
Citizen involvement in tackling public health challenges is the reason that responses to the questionnaire on this page are needed. It is also the subject of a free exhibition, SPARKS: Beyond the Lab, – in Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, that runs until February 18th, 2018.
This article is part of a citizen science initiative that is being led by Trinity College Dublin and The Irish Times and is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and Science Foundation Ireland through its Discover Programme. Feedback, suggestions and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org