Advantages & Disadvantages of Inactivated Vaccines
Inactivated vaccines are composed of dead viruses and bacteria, allowing for a safe method of immunising against these pathogens as they can’t behave as they normally do and cause disease. Despite their inactivated state, these pathogens still possess the identifying molecules that signal their presence to the immune system, which means that we still receive the benefits of being immunised against that particular condition. In this article we look at the advantages and disadvantages of using inactivated vaccines.
What are the advantages of inactivated vaccines?
Inactivated vaccines can provide a high level of protection against disease if the dosing and booster regime is followed. Top up doses are needed, as will be discussed in more detail later in this article, but if they are taken as advised then the immunity offered by inactivated vaccines is of a very high standard.
One of the risks of live attenuated vaccination is the possibility of reversion, and this isn’t an issue with inactivated vaccines. Live vaccines contain living viruses and bacteria that have been treated in such a way that they are no longer virulent or a threat to human health. One of the concerns in their use however is that they may undergo changes in their genetic code (mutations) that would lead to their return to a dangerous wild form of the disease. This is called reversion, and because inactivated vaccines are dead, there is no risk of any change that could pose a threat to human health.
Because dead pathogens do not actively attack the human body, inactivated vaccines can be provided to people suffering from immunity issues. Such people are referred to as ‘immunocompromised’, which simply means that their ability to defend themselves against infection has been diminished. Examples of immunocompromised populations are people suffering from HIV, a virus which directly attacks the immune system, or cancer patients receiving chemo- or radiotherapy, both of which damage the immune system and suppress it. These people are particularly vulnerable to pathogens, which is why even attenuated vaccines can pose a risk.
Inactivated vaccines are also particularly in practical terms as they can be freeze dried for ease of transport. Live vaccinations need to be stored at low temperatures to remain viable, and this poses an obstacle when it comes to the transport and supply of vaccines across long distances and to parts of the world where adequate storage facilities can be lacking. Conversely inactivated vaccines are far more convenient for shipping and storage purposes, a major advantage both for manufacturers and aid groups seeking to transport large quantities of vaccine across the world.
What are the disadvantages of inactivated vaccines?
While there are many advantages to their use, there are some distinct disadvantages to inactivated vaccines which are an important consideration when choosing which method of vaccination is best suited to purpose.
Some inactivated vaccines are less effective than their live counterparts, and while a live vaccine triggers an immune response so strong that usually a single dose is enough to immunise a person, inactivated vaccines need regular booster injections. This is not only inconvenient and sometimes unpleasant where multiple injections are needed, but poses a real practical problem for travellers and in areas where the healthcare system is not established enough to conduct regular and routine vaccination for its resident population.
One of the issues with inactivated vaccines is that they don’t effectively stimulate an element of the immune response called local or mucosal immunity. This is, however, stimulated by live vaccines. Mucosal immunity is an important front line defence that deals with a lot of pathogens before they make their way into general circulation. A great example of a key element of the mucosal immune response is an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is found in mucosal lining of the respiratory tract and prevents a lot of infections around the lungs an throat.
Inactivated vaccines can sometimes be quite expensive because of the treatment processes involved in inactivating a vaccine. This is obviously a major concern when it comes to large scale immunisation programmes where millions of doses are needed.
Finally there has been an incident where the inactivation procedure has failed to safely render a virus harmless. This case involved the accidental administration of virulent smallpox, a severe condition. Since this event greater care is taken in ensuring that all the pathogens contained within a vaccine have been effectively eliminated.
With all these points in mind it is important to remember that the benefits of inactivated vaccination outweigh the disadvantages to the point where their widespread usage is commonplace across the world. Inactivated vaccines are an important part of the immunisation programme.
- What is the PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination)?
- Safety of PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination)?
- Administering PCV
- What is PPV?
- Safety of PPV
- Who gets the PPV Injection?
- What is the Meningitis C (MenC) Jab?
- Is the MenC Vaccination Safe?
- Who needs the MenC Vaccine?
- What is the BCG Vaccine?
- Who gets the BCG Vaccine in the UK?
- BCG Effectiveness
- Safety of the BCG Injection
- Tuberculosis Vaccines
- What is the Hib/MenC injection?
- Who gets the Hib/MenC Jab?
- Safety of the Hib/MenC Jab & Side Effects
- What is the DTaP/IPV Injection?
- Safety of the DTaP/IPV Vaccine
- Why Should I Get a Vaccination?
- How do Vaccinations Work?
- How are Vaccines Made?
- Vaccination Programmes
- Vaccination & Herd Immunity
- Vaccines & Eliminating Disease
- Benefits of Vaccination
- Risks & Side Effects of Vaccination
- Vaccination, Immunisation & Artificially Acquired Immunity
- Where Can I Get Vaccinations?
- Vaccines Availability
- Safety of Vaccinations
- Types of Vaccine
- When are Vaccinations Provided?
- Vaccination & Pregnancy
- Childhood Vaccinations
- Childhood Vaccination Programme
- Safety of Childhood Vaccinations
- British Children Vaccinated against Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Children & Side Effects after Vaccination
- Childhood Vaccinations against Rare Diseases
- Why are Children Vaccinated at Different Ages?
- Child & Baby Health on the Day of Vaccination
- Vaccines For Teenagers
- Vaccines offered to Adults
- Vaccines for the Elderly
- Travel Vaccines
- Travel Vaccination for Polio
- Travel Vaccines for Diphtheria
- Travel Vaccinations for Tetanus
- Travel Vaccinations for Typhoid
- Travel Vaccines for Cholera
- Travel Vaccines for Hepatitis
- Travel Vaccines for Encephalitis
- Travel Vaccines for Yellow Fever
- Travel Vaccines for Meningococcal Meningitis
- Travel Vaccines for Rabies
- NHS Travel Vaccinations
- Occupational Vaccines
- Workplace Vaccinations in the UK
- Live Vaccine
- How do Live Vaccinations Work?
- Are Live Vaccines Safe?
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Live Vaccinations
- Inactivated Vaccines
- How do Inactivated Vaccines Work?
- How Effective are Inactivated Vaccines
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Inactivated Vaccines
- Subunit Vaccine
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Subunit Vaccines
- How Safe are Subunit Vaccines?
- Toxoid Vaccine
- Are Toxoid Vaccines Safe?
- DNA Vaccine
- Advantages & Disadvantages of DNA Vaccines
- Conjugate Vaccine
- Are Conjugate Vaccines Safe?
- Flu Vaccination
- 5-in-1 DTaP/IPV/Hib Injection
- Safety of DTaP/IPV/Hib Vaccine & the Side Effects
- MMR Vaccine
- What type of vaccine is MMR?
- Why the MMR Vaccine is Needed
- MMR Vaccine Administration in the UK
- Recent Resurgence of the Measles Virus
- Is the MMR Vaccine Safe?
- Side Effects of the MMR Vaccine
- Vaccination Against Polio
- NHS Polio Vaccine
- What is IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine)?
- Oral Polio Vaccine
- Swine Flu Vaccination
- Seasonal Flu Vaccine
- What Type of Vaccine is the Flu Vaccine?
- Safety of Seasonal Flu Vaccine
- Who Should and Who Shouldn't have the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?
- HPV Vaccination
- What is the HPV vaccine?
- What is Cervarix?
- What is Gardasil?
- Further Information
UK HEALTH CENTRES
- Colonic Irrigation
- Cosmetic Surgery
- Cosmetic Treatments
- Dental Treatments
- Fertility Treatment
- Hair Transplants
- Harley Street
- Hearing Aids
- Laser Eye Surgery
- Laser Hair Removal
- Medical Centres & GPs
- Private Blood Tests
- Private Health Insurance
- Sleep Disorders
- Smoking & E-Cigarettes
- Sports Medicine
- STD's & STI's
(Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
- Tattoo Removal
- Vasectomy Reversal
- Weight Loss Surgery
- Glossary A-Z
- Latest UK Health News
SELECT A LOCATION