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Competency #4: The Types of Immunizing Agents and their Composition

This competency applies the knowledge of the components and properties of immunizing agents as needed for safe and effective practice.

Learning Objectives

The health professional will be able to perform the following:

  • Classify each immunizing agent used in practice as live attenuated, inactivated, or subunit.
  • Demonstrate the ability to describe live attenuated, inactivated, and subunit immunizing agents to an audience with minimal or no science knowledge.
  • Compare the major advantages and disadvantages of live attenuated versus inactivated/subunit immunizing agents.
  • Identify key differences in the immune response to purified polysaccharide versus polysaccharide protein conjugate vaccines.
  • Describe, in general terms, the purpose, action and potential concerns of each of the following components that may be present in a given vaccine product: adjuvant, preservative, additives, glass vial, stopper, and prefilled syringe.
  • Locate and utilize current information resources on the types and content of immunizing agents used in practice.


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