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As I understand, vaccination helps the human body to create antibodies and stimulate immune system to react against specific antigens. If someone gets sick, do vaccines help to stimulate immune system? If so, do we vaccine sick people for some specific disease?

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  • $\begingroup$ This at the moment could be construed as being quite broad. An example of a post exposure vaccine would be rabies. Source from WHO. There are likely many more examples. $\endgroup$ – James Feb 17 '16 at 5:08
  • $\begingroup$ @James Your comment is quite good and may be developped and promoted to an answer. It provides keywords ("post exposure vaccine") and example to answer the question. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Feb 17 '16 at 10:19
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Yes. Sick people are occasionally administered vaccines. But you need to keep in mind the mechanism of action of vaccines.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of vaccines.

Active immunization works by exposing the immune system of an individual with a pathogen (be it organism or derived proteins, etc). This type of immunization results in development of adaptive immunity in the individual, with long lasting effect; but it can days or weeks to fully develop.

On the contrary, passive immunization works by directly administering protective agents (antibody, etc). This will provide the individual with almost immediate protection; but will not lead to development of adaptive immunity, and thus will be short-lived.

You may find this wikipedia article informative.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi at welcome to Bio.SE! This is a good answer and overviews vaccines neatly, however you've glossed over the core of your answer to the question. Could you provide some examples of situations where sick people have been administered vaccines? $\endgroup$ – James Feb 17 '16 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ HI James. Thank you. A common example is a tetanus vaccine. I believe if people are thought to have a potential exposure, as in an accident, etc and do not remember whether they are up-to-date with their vaccination, they will get passive immunization for immediate but temporary protection. Other examples are small-pox, chicken-pox, hepatitis A & B. There is a more comprehensive list under "FDA licensed immunoglobulins" on this wiki page. $\endgroup$ – Noushin Feb 17 '16 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure passive immunization is vaccination? $\endgroup$ – abukaj Apr 9 '18 at 13:09
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The only case I can think about is postexposure vaccination against rabies.

As rabies virus proliferates unnoticed by the immune system, immediate vaccination after exposure is one of possible treatments (and the first one successfuly used).

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