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For years now, vaccines have been used to make a massive amount of the population immune to diseases, including pandemics. They either contain bacteria, viruses, or parts of each of them that directly cause the illness. This instigates a primary immune response in your body which strengthens further. So, when the actual bacteria or virus affects you, you will have a stronger immune response and will be able to effectively fight the bacteria or virus.

Different Types of Vaccines

The differentiation factor between vaccines is the type of flow that they follow in teaching your immune system to fight back on the respective illness or disease. Essentially, these different vaccines instigate different types of immunization in the body. While a vaccine is introduced to the body, the human body develops antibodies as a defense mechanism to fight the bacteria or virus. However, the vaccine that is introduced to the body can be of different types based on how it is manufactured or the type of virus or bacteria that is used.

Here is a list of immunization schedules for each of the vaccines and the diseases or illnesses they help with.

Type of Vaccine

Conditions for which vaccine is administered

Immunization Schedule Recommended for Children Between Ages 0 and 6

Live Attenuated

Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, Influenza, Rotavirus, Yellow fever, Shingles

16-24 months

Inactivated

Polio, Hepatitis A, Rabies

14 weeks

Toxoid

Diphtheria, Tetanus

10 years and 16 years

Subunit/Conjugate

Hepatitis B, Influenza, Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, HPV

Between 11 and 12 years

mRNA

Lyme disease

Any age

Viral

Adenovirus, Measles, Influenza, Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

6 weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks

Further, we discuss the different types of vaccines that are available in the market. There are 6 different types of immunization.

 

1. Live-Attenuated Vaccines

 

The first type of vaccine that we shall be discussing is the live-attenuated vaccine. Live-Attenuated Vaccines are those that contain a live version of the virus or germ. An example of live vaccine being administered is when a live version of the virus is injected into the body of an individual. However, this is a weakened version of the live germ or virus. Hence, it would not cause any infection as it would not be able to reproduce once it is injected into your body.

  • Its functioning

This Live-Attenuated Vaccine might trigger a response in your body’s immune system that is similar to that of a natural infection. However, this infection cannot be passed on to other people.

  • Diseases for which it is administered

The Live-Attenuated Vaccines have been administered for diseases like measles, mumps, smallpox, chickenpox, yellow fever, rotavirus, and rubella.

 

2. Inactivated Vaccines

 

The Inactivated Vaccines, also called the killed vaccines, do not contain live bacteria or viruses. Instead, the vaccine contains dead (inactivated or split) viruses or bacteria.

  • Its functioning

So, once they are injected into an individual, they cannot cause the disease as such but stimulate an immune response in the body. In addition, such kinds of vaccines do not have any adverse reactions on individuals with weak or compromised immune systems. Hence, they can be safely administered to such individuals.

  • Diseases for which it is administered

This type of vaccine has been used for diseases such as the flu, polio, Hepatitis A, rabies, etc. In addition, the Inactivated Vaccine needs a subsequent booster vaccine as they do not hold strong for a lifetime.

 

3. Subunit, Recombinant, Conjugate, and Polysaccharide Vaccines

 

The subunit, recombinant, conjugate, and polysaccharide vaccines largely contain particular parts of the virus or the germ. They could include parts of the virus or the germ, such as the protein, capsid, or sugar. These types of vaccines, as they are made of specific parts, instigate a very strong immune response.

  • Its composition

The Subunit Vaccines and Conjugate Vaccines are both made from certain pieces of the pathogen. Whereas the polysaccharide vaccine is made from the sugar/carbohydrate molecules found on the outer layer of the bacteria. The Recombinant Vaccine, on the other hand, uses yeast cells and bacteria cells to grow. However, the only limitation of the subunit, recombinant, conjugate, and polysaccharide vaccines is that a booster shot is required to continue staying protected from the disease.

  • Diseases for which it is administered

This type of vaccine is used for diseases like Hepatitis B, Shingles, Hib disease, HPV, Whooping cough, Pneumococcal disease, Meningococcal disease.

 

4. Toxoid Vaccines

 

The toxoid vaccine, on the whole, includes the use of toxins that are created by the virus or the bacteria to develop immunity in an individual. Some bacteria release toxins, which are essentially poisonous proteins, when these bacteria attack the human body. In such cases, the toxins are more harmful than the bacteria and the viruses themselves.

  • Its functioning

The mechanism in which the body’s immune system builds a response is not very different. The immune system identifies these toxins similar to the manner in which it recognizes the antigens on bacteria. Moreover, these vaccines are made with the inactivated forms of the toxins present in bacteria and viruses and are not poisonous in nature. These vaccines require booster shots and are used for building immunity against tetanus and diphtheria.

 

6. mRNA Vaccines

 

The mRNA vaccines essentially use the mRNA that is present inside a lipid membrane (fat membrane). This fatty layer protects both the mRNA and the vaccines. So, it allows the mRNA with the vaccine to effectively and safely enter into the human body and fuse with the cell membrane to get inside the cells.

  • Its functioning

Once the mRNA reaches the core of the cell, it is translated into the antigen protein. This antigen, although short-lived, lives long enough to stimulate an immune response in the body. It is also important to remember that this type of vaccine cannot alter the DNA of an individual. In addition, the mRNA vaccines have lower manufacturing costs and take less time for production.

  • Diseases for which it is administered

Currently, an mRNA vaccine is being researched for Lyme disease.

 

7. Viral Vector Vaccines

 

The Viral Vaccine follows a very interesting pathway. To begin with, it uses another virus as a medium or a vector to deliver the desired vaccine into the body.

  • Diseases for which it is administered

The Vector Vaccine has been used for diseases and illnesses like adenovirus, measles, influenza, and VSV (Vesicular Stomatitis Virus).

In a Nutshell

With the number of illnesses and diseases that have been around, vaccines have always found their way to save the lives of millions of people by boosting their immune response to diseases. While some vaccines offer lifelong protection, some of them require subsequent shots to continue staying protected. However, getting a vaccine for a certain disease or illness is the best way to build your immune response and fight the disease. While you do so, it is important to have health insurance. Purchasing health insurance can be a great choice so that you can cover medical expenses and costs when it comes to the vaccine and other requirements.  

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