Vaccine Lab / Alfa Chemistry
Antibiotics for Vaccines
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Antibiotics for Vaccines

What Are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics for Vaccines

Antibiotics are a class of drugs that inhibit the growth and replication of bacteria. They can be derived from natural sources, such as fungi or bacteria, or synthesized chemically. Antibiotics act selectively on bacterial cells, targeting and disrupting specific cellular processes, ultimately leading to their death. In the context of medicine, these drugs have been crucial in treating bacterial infections and saving countless lives.

What Role Do Antibiotics Play in Vaccines?

Vaccines are a vital tool in the prevention and control of infectious diseases. They work by stimulating the body's immune system to recognize and mount a defense against specific pathogens. However, the process of developing vaccines is complex, involving the cultivation of pathogenic organisms for antigen production. This cultivation process may inadvertently introduce bacterial contamination.

What Role Do Antibiotics Play in Vaccines

Antibiotics are added to the growth media during the cultivation of microbial agents used to produce vaccines. By inhibiting the growth of bacteria, antibiotics prevent potential contamination that could compromise the integrity and purity of the vaccine. The use of antibiotics in vaccine production is regulated and strictly controlled. The choice of antibiotics is carefully considered to ensure that they do not interfere with the antigen production or affect the vaccine's effectiveness.

However, it is important to note that antibiotics used in vaccine production are not meant to act as a therapeutic treatment for infections in the vaccine recipient. The concentration of antibiotics in the final vaccine is very low and is not intended to have a direct therapeutic effect. Their presence is solely to prevent bacterial contamination during the production process.

Antibiotics Used in Vaccine Manufacturing

Common antibiotics that can cause allergic reactions (such as penicillins, cephalosporins, and sulfonamides) are not used in vaccines. Currently, traces of five antibiotics that may be found in some vaccines include:

  • Neomycin
    Trace amounts of neomycin may be found in vaccines of DTaP-IPV (Kinrix), DTaP-IPV (Quadracel), DTaP-HepB-IPV (Pediarix), DTaP-IPV/Hib (Pentacel), Hep A (Havrix), Hep A (Vaqta), Hep A/Hep B (Twinrix), Influenza (Afluria), Influenza (Fluad), MMR (MMR-II), MMRV (ProQuad), Polio (IPV - Ipol), Rabies (Imovax), and Smallpox (Vaccinia), etc.
  • Streptomycin
    Trace amounts of streptomycin may be found in vaccines of Polio (IPV - Ipol).
  • Polymyxin B
    Trace amounts of polymyxin B may be found in vaccines of DTaP-IPV, DTaP-HepB-IPV, DTaP-IPV/Hib, Influenza, Polio (IPV - Ipol), and Smallpox (Vaccinia).
  • Gentamicin
    Trace amounts of gentamicin may be found in vaccines of Influenza (Fluarix) and Influenza (FluMist).
  • Kanamycin
    Trace amounts of kanamycin may be found in vaccines of Influenza (Fluad) and Meningococcal (MenB - Bexsero).

Antibiotic Information for Vaccines Routinely Recommended for Use in the US.

AntibioticPurposeVaccine NameVaccine TypeAmount per 0.5 mL Dose
Neomycin SulfateAntimicrobialAfluria QuadInfluenza≤81.8 ng
Neomycin SulfateAntimicrobialHavrixHepA≤40 ng/mL
Neomycin SulfateAntimicrobialImovaxRabies<150 mcg/mL
Neomycin SulfateAntimicrobialPriorixMMR≤25 mcg
Neomycin SulfateAntimicrobialTwinrixHepA+HepB≤20 ng/mL
NeomycinAntimicrobialFluadInfluenza≤0.02 mcg
NeomycinAntimicrobialFluad QuadInfluenza≤0.02 mcg
NeomycinAntimicrobialFluvirinInfluenza≤2.5 mcg
NeomycinAntimicrobialIPOLIPV<5 ng
NeomycinAntimicrobialKinrixDTaP+IPV≤0.05 ng
NeomycinAntimicrobialMMR-IIMMR25 mcg
NeomycinAntimicrobialPediarixDTaP+HepB+IPV≤0.05 ng
NeomycinAntimicrobialPentacelDTaP+IPV+Hib<4 pg
NeomycinAntimicrobialProQuadMMRV<16 mcg
NeomycinAntimicrobialQuadracelDTaP+IPV<4 pg
NeomycinAntimicrobialRabAvertRabies<10 mcg/1 mL dose
NeomycinAntimicrobialVaqtaHepA<10 ppb (residual)
NeomycinAntimicrobialVarivaxVaricellaTrace amounts
NeomycinAntimicrobialVaxelisDTaP+IPV+HepB<5 ng
NeomycinAntimicrobialZostavaxVaricella ZosterTrace amounts
Streptomycin SulfateManufacturing ResidueVaxelisDTaP+IPV+HepB<200 ng
StreptomycinAntimicrobialIPOLPolio200 ng
Polymyxin B SulfateAntimicrobialQuadracelDTaP+IPV<4 pg
Polymyxin B SulfateAntimicrobialVaxelisDTaP+IPV+HepB<25 ng
Polymyxin BAntimicrobialAfluria QuadInfluenza≤14 ng
Polymyxin BAntimicrobialIPOLPolio25 ng
Polymyxin BAntimicrobialKinrixDTaP+IPV≤0.01 ng
Polymyxin BAntimicrobialPediarixDTaP+HepB+IPV≤0.01 ng
Polymyxin BAntimicrobialPentacelDTaP+IPV+Hib<4 pg
Gentamicin SulfateAntimicrobialFluarix QuadInfluenza≤0.15 mcg
Gentamicin SulfateAntimicrobialFluMist QuadInfluenza<0.015 mcg/mL
GentamicinAntimicrobialJynneosSmallpox and Monkeypox≤ 0.163 mcg
KanamycinAntimicrobialBexseroMeningococcal B<0.01 mcg
KanamycinAntimicrobialFluadInfluenza≤0.03 mcg
KanamycinAntimicrobialFluad QuadInfluenza≤0.03 mcg

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