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What are vaccines made of?

Asked by a member via Contact Us:

I know that vaccines are recommended by doctors, and that they can help prevent diseases and flus, but what exactly are vaccines made from? How do they work?
In Topics: Physical Health
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Dec 1, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

they are carefully made of killed and live viruses and bacteria of the diseases they are to prevent. the process is careful, long, and thorough. Read the website listed, go to the American Academy of Pediatrics site, and to the American Council on Immunization Practice for information. Another good source is Paul Offit from Children's Hospital in Philadelphia.  Check him out and you will get great information on vaccines.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
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Additional Answers (6)

laurenf
laurenf writes:
Hi there,

Instead of copying and pasting info from the Center for Disease Control website, I've included a helpful link below. Hopefully these answers address all of your questions.

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canpanita
canpanita writes:
Inactivated or "killed" vaccines: A chemical called formalin is used to kill the disease causing organism, but it still retain the antigen that triggers the body's immune response to create antibodies. Examples of this type of vaccine include the typhoid vaccine and the poliomyelitis vaccine.
Acellular vaccines: These vaccines use only the antigenic portion of the pathogen, such as its capsule, flagella, or protein cell wall. The Haemophilus influenzae B (HIB) vaccine is an example of an acellular vaccine. Since these vaccines don't produce a very strong immune response, they require a "booster" shot later on..
Attenuated vaccine: This type uses a weakened form or the live disease causing organism and creates the strongest immune response. Examples of attenuated vaccines include the one for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Immunity lasts a lifetime.
Toxoid vaccine: The diphtheria and tetanus vaccines are examples of this type of immunization. They are made by using the toxin produced by the pathogen and then reducing its harmful affects with an aluminum salt. Toxoids require periodic booster shots.
Mimics: The vaccine for deadly smallpox was created this way by using the similar, but far less virulent, cowpox. In this instance, the immune response to the similar organism is enough to provide immunity.
Subunit vaccines: This recombinant DNA technology method of vaccine creation uses the genes of the pathogen that code for the parts of the organism that produce the strongest immune response. The genes are inserted into bacteria or yeast, which mass produce the desired proteins. These pathogenic but non-disease causing molecules can then be isolated, purified and used to produce the vaccine. The Hepatitis B vaccine is created this way.
> 60 days ago

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rudolffairbanks
rudolffairb... writes:
Vaccines are made using the disease-causing virus or bacteria, but in a form that will not harm your child. Instead, the weakened, killed, or partial virus or bacteria prompts your baby’s immune system to develop antibodies, or defenders, against the disease.
> 60 days ago

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jinjohn218
jinjohn218 writes:
hi....Vaccinations save thousands of lives, and researchers continually implement procedures to perfect viral eradication. Creating a flu vaccination follows the same process as others on the market.

http://www.secat.net/
> 60 days ago

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jinjohn218
jinjohn218 writes:
Vaccinations save thousands of lives, and researchers continually implement procedures to perfect viral eradication. Creating a flu vaccination follows the same process as others on the market. The flu vaccine is made every year, unlike other treatments that last several years. The flu virus mutates often, requiring scientists to create new ones every flu season.
http://www.secat.net/
47 days ago

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jinjohn218
jinjohn218 writes:
hi....Hepatitis is a serious disease that effects the liver. There are several strains of Hepatitis, including A, B and C. There are vaccinations for A and B, but not for C. Hepatitis is spread through contaminated food, blood, feces, shellfish, diaper changing tables and other sources. Getting vaccinated against Hepatitis is important especially for health care workers, day care workers and other people who are exposed to contaminated sources. You should also be vaccinated if you are traveling outside the US to developing countries or if you have chronic liver disease.

http://www.secat.net/
12 days ago

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