What Are Antibiotics?
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.
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:
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.
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).
Trace amounts of gentamicin may be found in vaccines of Influenza (Fluarix) and Influenza (FluMist).
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.
|Antibiotic||Purpose||Vaccine Name||Vaccine Type||Amount per 0.5 mL Dose|
|Neomycin Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Afluria Quad||Influenza||≤81.8 ng|
|Neomycin Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Havrix||HepA||≤40 ng/mL|
|Neomycin Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Imovax||Rabies||<150 mcg/mL|
|Neomycin Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Priorix||MMR||≤25 mcg|
|Neomycin Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Twinrix||HepA+HepB||≤20 ng/mL|
|Neomycin||Antimicrobial||Fluad Quad||Influenza||≤0.02 mcg|
|Neomycin||Antimicrobial||RabAvert||Rabies||<10 mcg/1 mL dose|
|Neomycin||Antimicrobial||Vaqta||HepA||<10 ppb (residual)|
|Neomycin||Antimicrobial||Zostavax||Varicella Zoster||Trace amounts|
|Streptomycin Sulfate||Manufacturing Residue||Vaxelis||DTaP+IPV+HepB||<200 ng|
|Polymyxin B Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Quadracel||DTaP+IPV||<4 pg|
|Polymyxin B Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Vaxelis||DTaP+IPV+HepB||<25 ng|
|Polymyxin B||Antimicrobial||Afluria Quad||Influenza||≤14 ng|
|Polymyxin B||Antimicrobial||IPOL||Polio||25 ng|
|Polymyxin B||Antimicrobial||Kinrix||DTaP+IPV||≤0.01 ng|
|Polymyxin B||Antimicrobial||Pediarix||DTaP+HepB+IPV||≤0.01 ng|
|Polymyxin B||Antimicrobial||Pentacel||DTaP+IPV+Hib||<4 pg|
|Gentamicin Sulfate||Antimicrobial||Fluarix Quad||Influenza||≤0.15 mcg|
|Gentamicin Sulfate||Antimicrobial||FluMist Quad||Influenza||<0.015 mcg/mL|
|Gentamicin||Antimicrobial||Jynneos||Smallpox and Monkeypox||≤ 0.163 mcg|
|Kanamycin||Antimicrobial||Bexsero||Meningococcal B||<0.01 mcg|
|Kanamycin||Antimicrobial||Fluad Quad||Influenza||≤0.03 mcg|
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