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HomeHealth EducationHow are Vaccines Made? - HealthyWomen

How are Vaccines Made? – HealthyWomen

How Are Vaccines Made?

Picture of a giant household seated across the Thanksgiving dinner desk. Mother, on the head of the desk, is speaking

Mother: I’m so glad we may all be collectively for Thanksgiving this 12 months! Emily, we’re particularly glad to lastly meet you. Sam has been gushing about you nonstop because you two began relationship.

Picture of a younger grownup male (her son, Sam) and his girlfriend (Emily) smiling

Sam: You lastly have a physician within the household, Mother! [laughs] Emily is nearly completed with med college. She’s been working at a vaccine clinic within the metropolis as a part of her residency.

Picture of Mother smiling and speaking

Mother: How fantastic! I simply received my flu shot final week. I simply want I may persuade Sam’s dad to do the identical.

Picture of Dad, seated on the different finish of the desk, speaking

Dad: I’m certain you’re doing good work, Emily. I’m simply not satisfied that vaccines are protected. How do they even provide you with these issues?

Picture of Emily speaking

Emily: I completely perceive your concern, Mr. Rose. However a number of work goes into ensuring vaccines are protected and efficient. I can inform you a little bit bit about how they’re made for those who’re ? I don’t need to bore everybody. [laughs]

Picture of everybody on the desk (besides Emily) nodding and smiling

Dad: I’d love to listen to from an knowledgeable supply, Emily — and we’ve received a number of turkey to get by means of right here! [laughs] Please, go forward.


Step 1: Selecting a Goal

Emily: Properly, first, scientists select which illness-causing virus or micro organism to focus on with a vaccine.


Immune points

Too uncommon

Not severe sufficient

(these phrases ought to are available in one by one to match VO)

Some viruses aren’t good targets due to the way in which they work together with the immune system. Others are too uncommon, or don’t trigger illness severe sufficient to want a vaccine. 

Picture of grownup lady (Aunt Lucy) at desk speaking 

Aunt Lucy: Is that why there’s no vaccine for HIV? Due to the way in which it impacts the immune system?

Picture of Emily nodding

HIV with a circle and slash round it

Emily Precisely. Though scientists are engaged on an HIV vaccine. HIV simply isn’t a simple goal.


Step 2: Exploratory Part

As soon as a vaccine goal has been chosen, the exploratory section begins. 

Picture of a lab full of a various group of scientists bent over microscopes

Throughout this section, researchers research the way in which the virus or micro organism impacts the immune system.

Picture of Emily speaking 

Visible illustration of the method of the imitation invader instructing physique to fend off virus/micro organism

The objective is to create an “imitation invader” that teaches our our bodies the best way to fend off the virus or micro organism. That approach, our immune system is aware of what to do when it comes throughout the true factor.


Step 3: Pre-Scientific Testing 

As soon as the vaccine is lastly developed, pre-clinical testing can begin. 

Collection of photos: first a Petri dish, then a math equation, then a white mouse 

Throughout this section, the vaccine is examined in a number of completely different ways in which don’t contain individuals.

Picture of syringe/needle with pink X over it

Sadly, not many vaccines make it previous pre-clinical testing as a result of they don’t activate the immune system the way in which they need to.

Sam speaks whereas he places extra meals on his plate

Sam: If a vaccine does present potential, what occurs subsequent? 


Step 4: FDA Approval for Scientific Testing

Emily: The subsequent step is getting approval for scientific testing from the FDA. This occurs in three phases.

A various group of individuals lined as much as get a vaccine from a lab-coated lady.

Through the first section of scientific testing, small teams of individuals obtain the trial vaccine.

A bigger, numerous group of individuals lined as much as get a vaccine from the identical lab-coated lady

Through the second section, the research is expanded to incorporate individuals who share issues in widespread (like age and well being) with the individuals the vaccine is meant for.

A good bigger numerous group of individuals lined as much as get a vaccine from the identical lab-coated lady

Through the third section, the vaccine is given to 1000’s of individuals to ensure it’s protected and efficient.

Little boy appears up from consuming his meal 

Little Boy: How do they make certain a vaccine will work for everybody? 

Picture of Emily speaking

Emily: Properly, scientific trials attempt to embrace a number of various kinds of individuals to ensure the vaccine works properly for everybody, with out harmful unwanted effects. 


Step 5: Manufacturing and distribution

Vaccines coming off manufacturing belts and being shipped to after which arriving at physician’s places of work, pharmacies, public well being clines 

As soon as a vaccine is lastly authorized, that’s when it will get mass-produced and distributed to physician’s places of work, pharmacies and public well being clinics throughout the nation. 

Picture of Dad speaking

Dad: That’s the half that worries me. How do we all know a vaccine is protected when it’s by no means been used earlier than?

Picture of guidelines with the phrases “protected” and “efficient” checked off

Emily: I hear you, and I believe it’s pure to fret about one thing model new. However vaccines are based mostly on years and years of analysis, and a vaccine is rarely authorized by the FDA except it’s confirmed to be protected and efficient.

Picture of Dad nodding his head and speaking

Dad: I have to say, you’ve made a convincing case for vaccines, Emily. I’ve to admit, I didn’t know half of what you simply advised us. [laughs]

Picture of Emily laughing and speaking

Emily : Most individuals don’t! And there’s a number of misinformation about vaccines on the market. That’s why I’m all the time prepared to speak about them — a minimum of till it’s time for dessert … 

Picture of mother, laughing and standing up from desk

Mother: Talking of which, who desires pumpkin pie?

Picture of everybody at desk smiling and elevating a hand

Fade out

Picture of the dad getting a vaccine. 

Need to be sure to and your family members are updated on vaccines? Your healthcare supplier, pharmacist or native well being division may also help.

You too can go to the CDC web site to study extra about vaccines and vaccine schedules.

For extra data, please go to

This useful resource was created with help from Merck.



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