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A basic glossary of vaccinology

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We have prepared a basic glossary to give readers of theJournal of Epidemiology and Community Healthan understanding of the main terms currently used in vaccinology. Vaccines (products producing active immunity, thereby protecting the body from the disease) have become a major global preventive tool and vaccinology a rapidly expanding branch of science. Inevitably our choice of terms is subjective and many additional terms have been left out because of space constraints. We hope to be able to expand and improve our glossary in future editions and to this end we invite readers to comment on the current version, perhaps using the e-JECH rapid response tool, thus becoming contributors to future versions.

Acellular vaccines: Vaccines composed of purified individual components of the pathogen linked to a mineral carrier. Examples are acellular vaccines againstBordetella pertussis infection containing one or more bacterial antigens.

Adjuvants: Substances that, when added to an antigen, enhance immune response. Aluminium salts are the most widely used adjuvants in vaccines and are the only ones registered in the US.

Booster vaccination: Further doses of the vaccine, given after the original (or primary) course to maintain, increase or regain levels of immunity by stimulating immunological memory. Boosting results in a rapid (“secondary”) immune response.

Combination (or combined) vaccines: Vaccines administered simultaneously as one preparation to protect against multiple infectious diseases or …

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