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 might 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 courting.

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

Sam: You lastly have a health care provider 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 great! I simply acquired my flu shot final week. I simply want I might 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 let you know just a little bit about how they’re made in case you’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 acquired a number of turkey to get via 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 separately 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 wish 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 Section

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

Picture of a lab crammed with a various group of scientists bent over microscopes

Throughout this part, researchers examine 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 educating physique to fend off virus/micro organism

The purpose is to create an “imitation invader” that teaches our our bodies how you can fend off the virus or micro organism. That approach, our immune system is aware of what to do when it comes throughout the actual factor.


Step 3: Pre-Medical Testing 

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

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

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

Picture of syringe/needle with crimson 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 Medical Testing

Emily: The subsequent step is getting approval for medical 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.

Throughout the first part of medical 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

Throughout the second part, the examine is expanded to incorporate individuals who share issues in frequent (like age and well being) with the folks the vaccine is meant for.

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

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

Little boy seems up from consuming his meal 

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

Picture of Emily speaking

Emily: Properly, medical trials attempt to embody a number of various kinds of folks to ensure the vaccine works properly for everybody, with out harmful unwanted side effects. 


Step 5: Manufacturing and distribution

Vaccines coming off manufacturing belts and being shipped to after which arriving at physician’s workplaces, 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 workplaces, 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 primarily based on years and years of analysis, and a vaccine is rarely authorized by the FDA until it’s confirmed to be protected and efficient.

Picture of Dad nodding his head and speaking

Dad: I need to say, you’ve made a convincing case for vaccines, Emily. I’ve to admit, I didn’t know half of what you simply informed 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 at all times prepared to speak about them — at the very least till it’s time for dessert … 

Picture of mother, laughing and standing up from desk

Mother: Talking of which, who needs 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 can even go to the CDC web site to study extra about vaccines and vaccine schedules.

For extra info, please go to

This useful resource was created with help from Merck.