How Are Vaccines Made?

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As more and more of the global population receives their COVID-19 vaccine, you may want to know how a vaccine is made. Here are all the steps in creating vaccines that prevent disease and save lives.

Weakened Or Diluted Virus

A vaccine is made in a couple of different ways. One way is to use just a very tiny amount of the virus and weaken it. Vaccines like German measles or chickenpox are made this way.

Although a normal virus will continuously reproduce in the body, these small fragments of the active component, the antigen, will reproduce. However, it will reproduce less than 20 times. What happens is that the body generates “memory B cells.” These cells protect the body from getting an infection because it inactivates the toxin.

Inactivate With Chemical

The other option is to inactivate the virus using a harsh chemical. In this harmless method, the body can not catch the virus, but it can “see” the virus. When the virus is “seen,” the body’s immune system builds up to fight the virus. A rabies shot is made this way.

Use A Small Part Of Virus

There is another way to use a small part of the virus. In this method, the protein that is on the virus is used. The Shingles vaccine is made in this way. This is ideal for immune-compromised patients.

Genetic Code

There are several ways of using a part of genetic codes for a vaccine. This is DNA or RNA. These are called nucleic acid vaccines.

Making The Vaccine

Vaccines are made in sterile conditions to limit any sort of contamination. Biorepository options are then added when in the process of vaccine manufacturing products.


After a vaccine method is utilized, it needs to be put into a vial. In order to prevent a vial from being contaminated, preservatives such as 2-phenoxyethanol are put into the vial. This preservative is used in baby products and is safe for everyone.

Otherwise, each vial can only hold one dose of the vaccine. This is not very efficient; therefore, places like Avantor use preservatives in storing vaccines.


When the vaccine is in a vial, the entire amount needs to be used for the full dose. To ensure that nothing sticks to the sides of the vial, stabilizers are used.


Surfactants are chemicals that keep the vaccine blended together. The ingredients will not separate.


There are tiny bits of residuals in a vaccine. That is because vaccines are often grown on egg proteins. Sometimes residuals include antibodies or yeast. Although they do not affect the vaccine itself, patients will be asked whether they have egg allergies.


The vaccine could come in a concentrate. If so, then some pure water could be added to dilute it.


A vaccine is not given to the populous without strenuous testing. First, they test the vaccine for safety on a small group of people.

Next, they will do a larger test with people of the same age group, gender, and other similar factors.

Lastly, they will test again on a larger group of people.

After each test, they sum up the evidence before they move on to the next step.


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