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Posts from the ‘Immunology 101’ Category

Immunology 101 Series: The Process of Making Safe and Effective Vaccines

By Aimee Pugh-Bernard, PhD

This post was originally published on April 4, 2013 and updated on March 17, 2020.

In the third installment of the Immunology 101 Series, Aimee explains the process of vaccine development. Vaccines undergo rigorous testing and must be proven extremely safe and effective before they are available for use in the general public.

As you may know from reading the first Immunology 101 Series post, vaccines train our immune systems to recognize and respond quickly to infection to keep us healthy. Reading the second Immunology 101 Series post, you learned that there are several different forms of vaccines, each created to produce the most effective vaccine possible based on the unique properties of each type of pathogen. In this post you will learn about the process of vaccine development. The process is lengthy and rigorous, just as it should be to prove that the end product is safe and effective! Read more

Immunology 101 Series: The Return of the Mumps

By Aimee Pugh-Bernard, PhD

In the eleventh installment of the Immunology 101 Series, Aimee will explain the basics of the infectious disease mumps and the science behind the vaccines available for mumps.
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Immunology 101 Series: The Science Behind Flu Vaccines…and Why You Need One Every Year

By Aimee Pugh-Bernard, PhD

In the tenth installment of the Immunology 101 Series, Aimee will explain the science behind the vaccines for influenza.

It’s that time of year again. You guessed it – time to get your annual flu shot! As an immunologist I relish this time of year. The flu shot lets me train my immune system to defend me against the flu virus. I must admit that I call my children’s pediatrician office every year in late August and sign up for the first flu shot clinic available. I make sure that my family will have an immune army built, trained, and ready to defend us long before influenza (aka ‘the flu’) makes it to Denver! I do this because I know that the vaccines for influenza are safe and effective and that illness from the flu is very serious and potentially deadly. As a scientist who has read the literature, I understand that the risk from the flu shot is minimal compared to the danger of becoming sick from the flu.

Most people I encounter who are skeptical about the flu vaccine have the same questions. They often wonder why we need to get a flu shot every year, if the flu shot can actually give you the flu (spoiler alert – no!), and if the flu is even really a serious disease (spoiler alert – yes!).
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Immunology 101 Series: Adjuvants, Aluminum, and Gelatin! Oh My! The Scientific Scoop on Vaccine Ingredients

By Aimee Pugh-Bernard, PhD

Are the ingredients in vaccines necessary and useful? YES!

All of the ingredients within vaccines are vital and play a role in important things like helping the immune system respond, maintaining the longevity of the vaccine itself, and keeping the vaccine safe from contamination.

In the ninth installment of the Immunology 101 Series, Aimee will explain the science behind the ingredients in vaccines. Read more