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Immunizations 411

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vaccinesWhat is a Vaccine?

A vaccine is a biological preparation which is used to establish or improve immunity to a particular disease.

Types of Vaccines

  • Inactivated Vaccines- contain killed microorganisms. Examples include flu, Hepatitis A & B, HIB, pertussis, inactivated polio, and Prevnar.
  • Live Attenuated Vaccines- contain live micro-organisms that have been cultivated under conditions that disable their virulent properties or which use closely-related but less dangerous organisms. Examples include MMR, oral polio, smallpox, tuberculosis, chickenpox, intranasal influenza, and rotavirus.
  • Toxoids- inactivated toxic compounds (not the organism) used to provide defense against toxins produced by bacteria. Examples include diphtheria and tetanus.
  • Subunit- rather than introducing an inactivated or attenuated micro-organism to an immune system, a fragment of it can create an immune response. Examples include the HPV (human papillomavirus) and HBV (hepatitis B vaccine) vaccines.

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