Tag Archives: vaccine

HPV Vaccine – Gardasil, Cervarix


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a nasty virus. Actually, it’s a group of 150+ different related viruses (called types or strains). 
Papilloma means wart. HPV can cause warts to appear in bumps–raised or flat, small or large–and sometimes in formations that can look cauliflower-like. These warts love to hang out in mucous-membrany areas such as the mouth, throat, genitals, and anus, but it’s not at all uncommon to find them on your hands (common warts) and feet (plantar warts), as well. In fact, sixty of the 150+ types cause hand and foot warts.
My guess is you’ve had one. Am I right? I have. In fact, I get them on the soles of my feet all the time.
HPV is so common that nearly all men and women get one type at some point in their lives. Don’t freak out.
So how do you get it?
You get warts through other people who have warts—skin-to-skin contact. Most often the spread comes from intimate contact. And in many cases, the infected person doesn’t even know they have it because they show no signs or symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms don’t develop until years after being infected.
So, why is it important for me to talk about warts?

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Children are dying from Streptococcus pneumonia especially in developing countries

The WHO estimates that globally Streptococcus pneumonia kills close to 500,000 children under 5 years annually. That’s a HUGE number. And that’s just children UNDER FIVE.

S. pneumonia can cause diseases such as pneumonia. meningitis, and bacteremia. (Refer to graphic below.) These are diseases that put babies and children in the hospital.
I’ve been hospitalized twice for pneumonia and I can’t imagine having to watch my child or any child go through such pain and suffering.

We do have a vaccine to help protect from this disease. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV)–there are two versions–have had clear public health benefits. Not only does it reduce the invasive disease in vaccinated children, but also in elderly adults who benefit from herd immunity.

Coverage is increasing globally, but it’s nowhere near optimal vaccination rates.

Most of these child deaths occur in developing countries where they do not yet have access to vaccines.

Why? Continue reading

Can a baby’s immune system handle more than one vaccine at a time?

Babies are exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. Hands and objects enter those little babies’ mouths just about every minute, exposing their immune systems to antigens on a daily basis. Their immune systems are always working to fend off intruders.

Immune system cells are constantly hard at work. But it comes to vaccines, there is no evidence that combining vaccines can “overload” an infant’s immune system. And many studies have demonstrated that a baby’s immune system can handle receiving more than one vaccine at a time.

It has been shown that infants could receive more than the recommended amount of vaccines given at a time without compromising the immune system’s ability to respond appropriately. Babies’ immune systems are much stronger than you think. According to Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines, a 1994 report from the Institute of Medicine, based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time!3 They even went so far as to say that even if all 14 childhood vaccines were given at once, only slightly more than 0.1% of the baby’s immune system capacity would be at work.

Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommend combination vaccines whenever they are available. 

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New resources available from CHOP

I am always happy to hear that there are new parent resources available from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and CHOP’s Vaccine Education Center (VEC). This is one of my favorite and most trust-worthy sources of vaccine-related information for parents.

All the new goodies from CHOP and the VEC:

The VEC also released a really great app, “Vaccines on the Go: What You Should Know”, last year with lots of vaccine information for parents.




As always, CHOP and it’s VEC are keeping us informed! Thanks so much!

Viral Vaccine Immunology

What happens after you are injected with a viral vaccine? And which viral vaccine type is best?

(Note that I’m going to be talking about viral vaccines ONLY.)

First of all, there two basic types of viral vaccines: live attenuated vaccines (LAV) and inactivated (killed) vaccines.

LAV contain a vaccine virus that is a weakened version of the natural disease-causing virus. Inactivated vaccines use a killed version or a part(s) of the natural virus.

The body’s response to the vaccine virus in relation to the natural disease-causing virus has to do with the type of vaccine being administered, as well as how similar the vaccine virus is to the natural virus.

I’m going to go ahead and stop saying “vaccine virus”, and start calling this the “antigen”. An antigen is something foreign (in this case) that the body makes an immune response to, or something that’s the target for an immune response.

An inactivated vaccine contains all of the antigen needed to induce an immune response in the injected dose. Once it is injected into the muscle, the immune system begins to respond to this antigen. The LAV works a bit differently. There is only a very tiny amount of live weakened virus, and it must use the host body’s cells to reproduce in order to create the proper immune response. Once a LAV is injected into the muscle, the antigen migrates to the appropriate tissue in order to begin replication. The “appropriate tissue” in this case would be the tissue the natural virus would normally infect and replicate in.

Because the vaccine virus is so similar to the natural virus in LAV, these vaccines create an immune response virtually identical to the natural infection. The inactivated vaccine’s response is similar, yet one drawback is that immune stimulation occurs at the site of injection and not at the site of natural viral replication.

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