Vaccines and antibiotics are different for a few reasons, and these can be good to know for what will be most beneficial to you depending on if you are already sick or preventing a potential future infection.
Vaccines are right to be used for protection against potential future infection. Vaccines are designed to induce a protective immune response in your body. The specific, protective immune cells have a memory component so that you can be adequately protected for any future infection by that particular virus. These memory cells allow for a quick response to that future infection so that when exposed to that virus, you are quickly protected and can avoid being sick. Vaccines can be for many different diseases and can be used for many different reasons. Some vaccines are given immediately at birth, like MMR, and others throughout a child’s life as certain things are more common to affect them, like meningococcal. Other vaccines commonly used are when traveling to another country, like yellow fever, because different countries have different possibilities for infection than the United States, so people need a vaccine if going to certain places in the world.
Antibiotics are effective for stopping the reproduction process of bacteria and do not have any effect on viruses. These are also not to be used for preparing for potential future infection, but rather for when there is a current bacterial infection. Inappropriate use of antibiotics is a growing concern in the world with some bacteria developing antibiotic-resistant strains, like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), rendering certain antibiotics ineffective. This inappropriate use is when physicians prescribe a certain antibiotic to a patient who does not need this antibiotic to become healthy so now much more precaution needs to be made by physicians when prescribing antibiotics to patients.
Antibiotics and vaccines are different from each other in many ways; however, they both serve their purpose in protecting us from future or current infections.