Toxoid Vaccines

Toxoid vaccines are vaccines that are made from the toxins (harmful chemicals) from bacteria.

There are some bacteria that cause disease through releasing a protein called a toxin. Scientists can inactivate these toxins in the lab using a chemical called formalin (a solution of formaldehyde) and sterilized water, which are completely safe to use in small quantities in the human body.

Once the toxin is inactivated, it’s called a toxoid, and it can no longer cause harm. The body learns how to fight off the bacteria’s natural toxin once exposed to the toxoid through producing antibodies that bind into the toxin like keys into a lock.

Examples of toxoid vaccines:


  • Tetanus Vaccine
  • Diphtheria Vaccine
  • Pertussis Vaccine
  1. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
  2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  3. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. National Institutes of Health.
  4. The history of Vaccines. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
  5. Vaccine Healthcare Centers Network.

2 thoughts on “Toxoid Vaccines”

  1. Hi,
    The diphtheria vaccine is a toxoid vaccine, meaning it creates antibodies to the toxin, not the bacteria. Getting the vaccine does not make the person contagious because the toxin does not cause infection, only the bacteria cause infection. Once the bacteria enters a vaccinated body, the antibodies will recognize the toxin and then eliminate the bacteria from the body. People are only contagious when they harbor the bacteria and those vaccinated have bodies quickly able to rid themselves of the bacteria. Those unvaccinated bodies must elicit an immune response to the bacteria, fight it off, and create memory antibodies. While actively infected, these people are contagious and can infect others. So no, definitely not the same threat to the community. Hope this helps!

  2. Dear Sir/Madam,
    If the Diphtheria vaccine is a toxoid vaccine, then it’s clear that children vaccinated against Diphtheria are just as contagious as those unvaccinated against it, because the vaccine suppresses the toxin, not the bacteria. That is, it guards against the disease, not the cause of the disease.
    Therefore, in terms of safety for others, children unvaccinated against Diphtheria pose the same threat as those vaccinated against it.
    Can you please confirm this?

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