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Updated November 24, 2008

Definition: Vaccines are medical marvels. Basically, they are purified preparations that can stimulate your body's immune system to produce antibodies that can provide future, long-term protection from any exposure to a specific type of microbe (virus or bacterium).

Vaccines come in two types, either live attenuated or inactivated. Live attenuated vaccines contain virus or bacteria that have been weakened in the manufacturing process and cause a mild infection that the body fights off. Inactivated vaccines contain virus or bacteria, or some part of them, that are completely incapable of causing an infection, but still cause an immune response.

Two very effective and safe vaccines exist for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Since hepatitis D requires infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis B vaccine can protect against both.

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