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Medicine (MD/DO)
Killed (Inactivated) Whole Vaccines

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Killed (Inactivated) Whole Vaccines

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Killed (Inactivated) Whole Vaccines

Gravestone Vaccine-syringe in Hole-in-ground
Killed (inactivated) whole vaccines are vaccines that have had their virulent capacity permanently removed, typically by heat or a chemical (e.g. formalin). They contain the whole organism against which immunity is desired (virus, bacteria). They mostly activate humoral immunity and do not have a risk of reverting to a virulent form. Since antibody levels decline over time with killed vaccines, patients require booster shots. Examples of killed whole vaccines include polio (Salk), hepatitis A, rabies, and cholera.
Require Booster Shots

Inactivated vaccines always require multiple doses. In general, the first dose does not produce protective immunity, but “primes” the immune system. A protective immune response develops after the second or third dose. Antibody titers against inactivated antigens diminish with time. As a result, some inactivated vaccines may require periodic supplemental doses to increase, or “boost,” antibody titers.

Mostly Humoral Immune Response
Hummer and Moon

In contrast to live vaccines, in which the immune response closely resembles natural infection, the immune response to an inactivated vaccine is mostly humoral. Little or no cellular immunity results.

Polio (Salk)
Polo-player Socks

There are two types of vaccines against poliomyelitis - Salk and Sabin. The Salk polio vaccine is a killed whole cell vaccine.


In the 1880s, the rabies vaccine was developed and proved to be a spectacular success upon its first trial in a boy bitten by a rabid dog. The rabies vaccine is a killed vaccine


The cholera vaccine against Vibrio cholerae is a killed whole vaccine.

Hepatitis A
Happy-Tie-Liver Apple

The hepatitis A vaccine is a killed whole vaccine.


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