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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, immunization, vaccine attorney, vaccine injury

What is a Live-Attenuated Vaccine? Is it Safe?

What are live-attenuated vaccines? Are they safe for children and adults? Is there a risk that you could get a disease as the result of an immunization with a live-attenuated vaccine?

These are all common questions; and, if you are wondering about the safety risks associated with vaccinations, it is good that you are doing your research. Here is a brief overview of what parents and vaccine recipients should know about live-attenuated vaccinations.

Understanding the Different Types of Vaccines

Currently, there are four types of vaccines that are approved for use in the United States. Each type of vaccine works differently, and each has its own benefits and limitations:

  • Live-attenuated vaccines – These vaccines introduce a weakened (attenuated) form of the disease-causing germ into the body, resulting in a strong immune response.
  • Inactivated vaccines – These vaccines introduce a killed version of the disease-causing germ into the body, reducing the risk of infection for at-risk patients, but also limiting long-term vaccine effectiveness.
  • Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines – These vaccines introduce a specific component of a disease-causing germ into the body, allowing the vaccine to effectively prevent infection on a non-permanent basis without introducing a risk of infection.
  • Toxoid vaccines – These vaccines target the toxins created by germ-causing diseases rather than the germs themselves, also on a non-permanent basis.

Key Facts about Live-Attenuated Vaccines

Although live-attenuated vaccines use a living disease-causing germ, the weakened state of the germ is inadequate to cause an infection in most people. However, individuals with weakened immune systems and certain other medical conditions may be at risk for infection from a live-attenuated vaccine. As a result, before getting a live-attenuated vaccination, it is best to discuss the potential risks with your physician.

Due to their use of live disease-causing germs, live-attenuated vaccines are among the most effective vaccines available. Unlike the other types of vaccines listed above, booster shots are not necessary for live-attenuated vaccines. Most people receive live-attenuated vaccines during childhood, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend all of the live-attenuated vaccines for adults who are behind on their vaccination schedules as well.

Which Vaccines are Live-Attenuated Vaccines?

Currently, there are five live-attenuated vaccines approved for use in the United States. These are:

Which Vaccines are Not Live-Attenuated Vaccines?

The following are not live-attenuated vaccines. The diphtheria and tetanus vaccines are toxoid vaccines, and the rest are either inactivated, subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide or conjugate vaccines:

Have You Experienced Complications Following a Live-Attenuated Vaccine Injection?

If you have experienced severe pain, limited range of motion, or other symptoms or complications following a live-attenuated vaccine injection, you should see a doctor promptly. You should also discuss your diagnosis with an experienced vaccine attorney as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. If you would like more information, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Call (202) 800-1711 or request an appointment online now.

Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.

About Leah Durant

Leah Durant is a former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney who specializes in vaccine injury claims covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. These cases are filed before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (more commonly known as the “vaccine court”) in Washington, DC, where she has been admitted to practice since 2008. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Leah Durant is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park and received her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Leah Durant’s legal practice concentrates on litigating complex vaccine injury and medical related cases. She has an extensive legal background and has experience representing individuals with complex medical claims.


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