Travel Medicine / Vaccination / Immunization Expert Forum
Is the flu shot a man made drug?
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Questions in the Travel Medicine forum are answered by Dr. Philip D Parks, affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health. Topics covered include disease prevention, finding a doctor abroad, food and water safety, illness and injury abroad, mosquito and tick protection, resources for travelers, traveling with children or pets, traveling with special needs, vaccinations and immunizations.

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Is the flu shot a man made drug?

Is the influenza shot a man made drug? How do scientists make this drug? I understand that the influenza vaccine is the influenza dead, so how do they get the virus dead?

Sorry if these are silly questions.
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Hello Leslie,

These are great questions.

IS THE INFLUENZA VACCINE MAN MADE?

The influenza vaccine is manufactured by several companies and is man made. Much of the process is automated (with computers and machines) and occurs in factory or manufacturing facility.

HOW DO SCIENTISTS MAKE THE VACCINE? HOW IS THE VIRUS KILLED?

Influenza vaccine is typically manufactured by growing the virus in chicken eggs. Then, the virus is either killed ("flu shot") with a chemical. This is the usual process for developing the injectable vaccines.

Attenuated ("intra-nasal" or FluMist in the US) vaccines are technically "live". However. live-attenuated vaccines are made from pieces of live virus and the vaccine is made such that it cannot cause influenza illness or sickness.

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/fluvaccine.htm

http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-science/how-are-vaccines-made.html

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or legal advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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