Healthy people are inoculated with vaccine as a protection against a particular disease; this produces ANTIBODIES which will confer immunity against a subsequent attack of the disease. (See IMMUNISATION for programme of immunisation during childhood.)
Vaccines may be divided into two classes: stock vaccines, prepared from micro-organisms known to cause a particular disease and kept in readiness for use against that disease; and autogenous vaccines, prepared from microorganisms which are already in the patient’s body and to which the disease is due. Vaccines intended to protect against the onset of disease are of the former variety.
Autogenous vaccines are prepared by cultivating bacteria found in SPUTUM, URINE and FAECES, and in areas of in?ammation such as BOILS (FURUNCULOSIS). This type of vaccine was introduced by Wright about 1903.
Anthrax vaccine was introduced in 1882 for the protection of sheep and cattle against this disease. A safe and e?ective vaccine for use in human beings has now been evolved. (See ANTHRAX.)
BCG vaccine is used to provide protection against TUBERCULOSIS. (See also separate entry on BCG VACCINE.)
Cholera vaccine was introduced in India about 1894. Two injections are given at an interval of at least a week; this gives a varying degree of immunity for six months. (See CHOLERA.)
Diphtheria vaccine is available in several forms. It is usually given along with tetanus and pertussis vaccine (see below) in what is known as TRIPLE VACCINE. This is given in three doses: the ?rst at the age of two months; the second at three months; and the third at four months, with a booster dose at the age of ?ve years. (See DIPHTHERIA.)
Hay fever vaccine is a vaccine prepared from the pollen of various grasses. It is used in gradually increasing doses for prevention of HAY FEVER in those susceptible to this condition.
In?uenza vaccine A vaccine is now available for protection against INFLUENZA due to the in?uenza viruses A and B. Its use in Britain is customarily based on advice from the health departments according to the type of in?uenza expected in a particular year.
Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines are given in combination early in the second year of life. A booster dose may prove necessary, as there is some interference between this vaccine and the most recent form of pertussis vaccine (see below) o?ered to children. Uptake has declined a little because of media reports suggesting a link with AUTISM – for which no reliable medical evidence (and much to the contrary) has been found by investigating epidemiologists. (See also separate entry for each disease, and for MMR VACCINE.)
Pertussis (whooping-cough) vaccine is prepared from Bordetella pertussis, and is usually given along with diphtheria and tetanus in what is known as triple vaccine. (See also WHOOPING-COUGH.)
Plague vaccine was introduced by Ha?kine, and appears to give useful protection, but the duration of protection is relatively short: from two to 20 months. Two injections are given at an interval of four weeks. A reinforcing dose should be given annually to anyone exposed to PLAGUE.
Poliomyelitis vaccine gives a high degree of protection against the disease. This is given in the form of attenuated Sabin vaccine which is taken by mouth – a few drops on a lump of sugar. Reinforcing doses of polio vaccine are recommended on school entry, on leaving school, and on travel abroad to countries where POLIOMYELITIS is ENDEMIC.
Rabies vaccine was introduced by Pasteur in 1885 for administration, during the long incubation period, to people bitten by a mad dog, in order to prevent the disease from developing. (See RABIES.)
Rubella vaccine, usually given with mumps and measles vaccine in one dose – called MMR VACCINE, see also above – now provides protection against RUBELLA (German measles). It also provides immunity for adolescent girls who have not had the disease in childhood and so ensures that they will not acquire the disease during any subsequent pregnancy – thus reducing the number of congenitally abnormal children whose abnormality is the result of their being infected with rubella via their mothers before they were born.
Smallpox vaccine was the ?rst introduced. As a result of the World Health Organisation’s successful smallpox eradication campaign – it declared the disease eradicated in 1980 – there is now no medical justi?cation for smallpox vaccination. Recently, however, there has been increased interest in the subject because of the potential threat from bioterrorism. (See also VACCINATION.)
Tetanus vaccine is given in two forms: (1) In the so-called triple vaccine, combined with diphtheria and pertussis (whooping-cough) vaccine for the routine immunisation of children (see above). (2) By itself to adults who have not been immunised in childhood and who are particularly exposed to the risk of TETANUS, such as soldiers and agricultural workers.
Typhoid vaccine was introduced by Wright and Semple for the protection of troops in the South African War and in India. TAB vaccine, containing Salmonella typhi (the causative organism of typhoid fever – see ENTERIC FEVER) and Salmonella paratyphi A and B (the organisms of paratyphoid fever – see ENTERIC FEVER) has now been replaced by typhoid monovalent vaccine, containing only S. typhi. The change has been made because the monovalent vaccine is less likely to produce painful arms and general malaise, and there is no evidence that the TAB vaccine gave any protection against paratyphoid fever. Two doses are given at an interval of 4–6 weeks, and give protection for 1–3 years.