Tag: vaccine types

Are You Ready for DNA Vaccines?

Believe it or not, vaccines aren’t a one-size-fits-all kind of a thing.

“There are several different types of vaccines. Each type is designed to teach your immune system how to fight off certain kinds of germs — and the serious diseases they cause.”

Vaccine Types

In addition to live vaccines, like MMR, there are inactivated vaccines, toxoid vaccines, and subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines.

Are You Ready for DNA Vaccines?

Vaccines made with current technology have helped save millions of lives.

It’s time for some new approaches though, especially as we are seeing the limitations of some of our current vaccines, especially the seasonal flu vaccine.

“DNA vaccines take immunization to a new technological level. These vaccines dispense with both the whole organism and its parts and get right down to the essentials: the microbe’s genetic material. In particular, DNA vaccines use the genes that code for those all-important antigens.”

NIH on Vaccine Types

While a DNA vaccine might sound like something out of the 23rd century, researchers have been studying them since the 1990s.

“Researchers have found that when the genes for a microbe’s antigens are introduced into the body, some cells will take up that DNA. The DNA then instructs those cells to make the antigen molecules. The cells secrete the antigens and display them on their surfaces. In other words, the body’s own cells become vaccine-making factories, creating the antigens necessary to stimulate the immune system.”

NIH on Vaccine Types

Does the idea of being injected with the genes for a microbe’s antigens scare you?

“The original concerns associated with the DNA platform were the potential for genomic integration and development of anti-DNA immune responses. Exhaustive research has found little evidence of integration, and the risk for integration appears to be significantly lower than that associated with naturally occurring mutations”

Ferraro et al on Clinical Applications of DNA Vaccines: Current Progress

What do you think happens when you get the flu?

The flu virus and it’s DNA is taken up by your cells, and those cells then start making more flu proteins.

“This approach offers a number of potential advantages over traditional approaches, including the stimulation of both B- and T-cell responses, improved vaccine stability, the absence of any infectious agent and the relative ease of large-scale manufacture.”

WHO on DNA Vaccines

So where are all of the DNA vaccines?

“However, the results of these early clinical trials were disappointing. The DNA vaccines were safe and well tolerated, but they proved to be poorly immunogenic. The induced antibody titers were very low or nonexistent, CD8+ T-cell responses were sporadic, and CD4+ T-cell responses were of low frequency. However, these studies provided proof of concept that DNA vaccines could safely induce immune responses (albeit low-level responses) in humans.”

Ferraro et al on Clinical Applications of DNA Vaccines: Current Progress

After getting disappointing results in the 1990s, researchers have since moved on to second-generation DNA vaccines, which are being tested for HIV treatment and prevention, Zika, Dengue fever, influenza (DNA vaccine prime), HPV, cancer treatment (metastatic breast, B cell lymphoma, melanoma, prostate, colorectal), chronic hepatitis B treatment, chronic hepatitis C treatment, herpes, and malaria.

There are many completed trials for DNA vaccines.
There are already many completed trials for DNA vaccines.

While many of these DNA vaccines are now in phase I and II trials, unfortunately, that means we are still a long time away from having a DNA vaccine on the immunization schedule.

More on DNA Vaccines

The Myth That You Can’t Vaccinate Away Bacteria

Have you ever heard someone say that you can’t vaccinate away bacteria?


Then you don’t spend much time arguing with anti-vaccine folks…

The Myth That You Can’t Vaccinate Away Bacteria

Although many vaccines protect against viral infections, there are others that do “vaccinate away bacteria,” including those that prevent vaccine-preventable diseases like:

  • anthrax – caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria
  • cholera – caused by the the bacterium Vibrio cholerae
  • diphtheria – caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria
  • Hib – caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria
  • meningococcal disease – caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria
  • pertussis – caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria
  • pneumococcal disease – caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria
  • tetanus – caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria
  • tuberculosis – caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria
  • typhoid fever – caused by the Salmonella serotype Typhi bacteria

And although it is no longer available, the Lyme disease vaccine worked against Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.

“Vaccines can help limit the spread of antibiotic resistance.”

WHO on Why vaccination is important for addressing antibiotic resistance

So yes, you can prevent or “vaccinate away bacteria,” or in some cases, the toxins that bacteria produce.

And that’s a good thing.

Get educated and get vaccinated to help prevent infections from both the viruses and bacteria that can get your family sick.

What about vaccines to vaccinate away parasites and fungi?

We don’t have those yet

We do have vaccines against bacteria and viruses and soon, as Mosquirix begins testing, we may have a vaccine against the parasite that causes malaria.
We do have vaccines against bacteria and viruses and soon, as Mosquirix begins testing, we may have a vaccine against the parasite that causes malaria.

What To Know About Vaccines Against Bacterial Diseases

Many vaccines work to protect us against bacterial diseases, from anthrax to typhoid fever, so yes, you can vaccinate away bacteria.

More About Vaccines Against Bacterial Diseases


Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

The latest immunization schedule from the CDC and AAP.
The latest immunization schedule from the CDC and AAP.

Today, in the United States, children typically get:

  • 36 doses of 10 vaccines (HepB, DTaP, Hib, Prevnar, IPV, Rota, MMR, Varivax, HepA, Flu) before starting kindergarten that protect them against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases
  • at least three or four more vaccines as a preteen and teen, including a Tdap booster and vaccines to protect against HPV and meningococcal disease, plus they continue to get a yearly flu vaccine

So by age 18, that equals about 57 dosages of 14 different vaccines to protect them against 16 different vaccine-preventable diseases.

While that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that 33% of those immunizations are just from your child’s yearly flu vaccine.

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Of course, kids in the United States don’t get all available vaccines and aren’t protected against all possible vaccine-preventable diseases. Some vaccines are just given if traveling to a high risk area or in other special situations.

Vaccine-preventable diseases (in the United States, children and teens are routinely protected against the diseases highlighted in bold) include:

  1. adenovirus – a military vaccine
  2. anthrax – vaccine only given if high risk
  3. chicken pox – (Varivax, MMRV)
  4. cholera – vaccine only given if high risk
  5. dengue – vaccine not available in the United States
  6. diphtheria – (DTaP/Tdap)
  7. hepatitis A – (HepA)
  8. hepatitis B – (HepB)
  9. hepatitis E – vaccine not available in the United States
  10. HPV – (Gardasil)
  11. Haemophilus influenzae type b – (Hib)
  12. influenza
  13. measles – (MMR, MMRV)
  14. meningococcal disease – (MCV4 and MenB and MenC)
  15. mumps
  16. pneumococcal disease – (Prevnar13 and PneumoVax23)
  17. pertussis – (DTaP/Tdap)
  18. polio – (bOPV and IPV)
  19. Q-fever – vaccine not available in the United States
  20. rabies – vaccine only given if high risk
  21. rotavirus – (RV1, RV5)
  22. rubella – (MMR, MMRV)
  23. shingles – vaccine only given to seniors
  24. smallpox – eradicated
  25. tetanus – (DTaP/Tdap)
  26. tick-borne encephalitis – vaccine not available in the United States
  27. tuberculosis – (BCG) – vaccine only given if high risk
  28. typhoid fever – vaccine only given if high risk
  29. yellow fever – vaccine only given if high risk

Discontinued vaccines also once protected people against Rocky mountain spotted fever, plague, and typhus.

These vaccine-preventable diseases can be contrasted with infectious diseases for which no vaccines yet exist, like RSV, malaria, norovirus, and HIV, etc., although vaccines are in the pipeline for many of these diseases.

What To Know About Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Available vaccines are helping to eliminate or control a number of vaccine-preventable diseases, like polio, measles, and diphtheria, but a lot of work is left to be done.

More About Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Updated June 16, 2018

Attenuated Vaccines

An attenuated vaccine is one that has been weakened, so that it can’t make you sick, but will still trigger the creation of antibodies and an immune reaction.

Attenuated Vaccines

Examples of attenuated vaccines include the:

  • chicken pox vaccine
  • nasal spray flu vaccine
  • MMR vaccine
  • oral polio vaccine
  • oral typhoid vaccine
  • rotavirus vaccines
  • shingles vaccine
  • smallpox vaccine
  • yellow fever vaccine

These are all live vaccines and are often described as being “the closest thing to a natural infection.”

The main downside of live, attenuated vaccines, in addition to the fact that they can’t usually be given to people with immune system problems, is that there is always the “remote possibility exists that an attenuated microbe in the vaccine could revert to a virulent form and cause disease.”

That became a concern with the oral polio vaccine and the very small risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP). It has not been an issue with other live, attenuated vaccines, such as measles or flu.

More on Attenuated Vaccines