Can You Match the Vaccine to the Disease?


By: Ian Fortey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The history of vaccination is older than most people realize. While some of the most significant strides in this medical field took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, there had been early variations on the idea of exposing yourself to an illness to gain immunity, dating back as far as the 10th century in China. For example, people inhaled powdered scabs taken from smallpox victims in order to have minimal exposure and then develop an immunity to the disease. The basic theory was: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Everyone has heard this saying, which, in the case of vaccines, is oddly accurate.

In the 1700s, a man named Edward Jenner discovered that farmers exposed to a mild case of cowpox wouldn't contract smallpox. One hundred years later, Louis Pasteur followed in Jenner's footsteps and developed vaccines against strains of cholera and anthrax. And then in modern times, Maurice Hilleman and other experts dedicated their lives to eradicating as many diseases as they could by developing vaccines to combat them. It's been a long road, and many lives have been lost, but many others have been saved. 

So let's see what you know about vaccines and the diseases they can prevent!

Measles, mumps and rubella are handled by what common vaccine?

Literally hundreds of millions of doses of MMR vaccine have been given to children around the world to prevent measles, mumps and rubella. Maurice Hilleman developed the MMR vaccine, along with more than 40 other vaccines, eight of which we routinely use today. He created the mumps vaccine after his own daughter contracted the illness.


Varivax is one of the two vaccines against this childhood illness that many parents actually want their kids to get. What is it?

Chickenpox is also known as varicella, so the name Varivax fits for one of the two vaccines used in the U.S. to combat it. Two doses of the vaccine are required. People who have had chickenpox are at risk for developing shingles later in life if the dormant virus reactivates.


You might get a Boostrix shot if you step on a rusty nail. What will it vaccinate you against?

Boostrix is a Tdap vaccine, protecting against tetanus as well as diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). The vaccine is recommended for children over 10 and women during every pregnancy.


Which relatively new vaccine to prevent HPV is recommended for boys and girls at age 11 or 12?

To prevent infections and cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), you want to get vaccinated with Gardasil. In general, three doses of the vaccine are required for full protection. It's approved for use in over 120 countries.


Anthrax is pretty rare, but we stockpile a vaccine for it just in case. What is the vaccine called?

BioThrax is the brand name for AVA, anthrax vaccine adsorbed, which is the only vaccine for anthrax that is approved by the FDA. If you've never had your anthrax shot, don't worry; almost no one has. Coming into contact with anthrax is pretty unusual, so the vaccine is reserved for individuals at high risk due to their jobs or in the event of a bioterrorism attack.


Which of these diseases is Infanrix going to protect against?

Infanrix is a triple-threat vaccine that prevents diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (also called pertussis). The vaccine is one of six DTaP vaccines available in the U.S. While diphtheria and tetanus are rare today in the U.S., reported cases of pertussis are on the rise.


Pentacel, as the name suggests, can prevent five diseases! Can you ID one of them?

Pentacel is also known by the much less exciting name DTaP-IPV/Hib vaccine. It's another vaccine that has multiple targets, one of which is diphtheria. It also protects against pertussis, polio, tetanus and a type of flu! Whew!


It's flu season! Which of these do you want to get?

As you might expect, one of the many available vaccines to prevent influenza is FluMist. While many vaccines are administered via injection, FluMist is given as a nasal spray. Clearly, every child would vote for the spray option.


You may have seen some Twinrix commercials on TV. What does it vaccinate against?

Twinrix vaccinates against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B. It's worth noting that three other kinds of hepatitis, all the way up to hepatitis E, are not prevented by this vaccine. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.


Which disease that President Franklin Roosevelt had can be prevented with Kinrix?

Kinrix, a DTaP-IPV, is one of those vaccines that's got four big diseases under its umbrella. It prevents you from getting tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria and, of course, polio.


Since you probably don't want to deal with rabies, what vaccine should you get?

RabAvert is one of two vaccines available in the U.S. to prevent rabies. Unlike some vaccines, you can take this one after exposure, but time is of the essence. Of course, it's possible to be vaccinated prior to exposure, but most people never expect to get bitten by a rabid animal.


What would you guess Mosquirix will prevent?

Mosquirix, as you might guess from the name, is a malaria vaccine. It will help you avoid one of the deadliest diseases on Earth that is spread by mosquitoes. The vaccine was approved in the year 2015, after decades of effort.


Vaqta is a vaccine that can help protect you from what disease you can get from people or even contaminated ice cubes?

Vaqta is the vaccine for hepatitis A, commercially available from Merck. There are competing vaccines from other suppliers that do the same job, including Epaxal, Avaxim, Havrix, Healive and Biovac-A.


What vaccine should you get to prevent hepatitis B?

Energix-B is a hepatitis B vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline. The first vaccine for hepatitis B came on the market in the U.S. back in 1981. Sometimes this virus is transmitted to a child at birth.


There's a vaccine called Vaxchora. What disease does it prevent?

Approved in 2016, Vaxchora is a live, attenuated oral vaccine to prevent cholera. Cholera vaccines date back to the 1800s and are available for adults traveling to areas where cholera is active.


You don't want typhoid, do you? What should you take to prevent it?

Ty21a, or Vivotif, is a vaccine against typhoid that comes in pill form. It is usually taken in four separate doses at an interval of every other day. One week after your final dose, you'll be protected for about five years.


Have you ever heard of Haemophilus influenzae? What can vaccinate you against it?

Hiberix is one of the trade names of the Hib vaccine, which prevents Hib or Haemophilus influenzae infection. For a time, people thought the Hib infection was the source of the flu, which is why it has that name.


What does the BCG vaccine prevent?

The BCG vaccine, short for bacille Calmette-Guerin, is for the prevention of tuberculosis. This is one of the older vaccines in the healthcare arsenal, dating all the way back to 1921. Today, about 100 million children receive this vaccine every year.


Japanese encephalitis was first named back in 1871. What vaccination will protect you against it?

The Je-Vax vaccine prevents Japanese encephalitis, which, if you weren't aware, is a mosquito-borne illness, like malaria. Symptoms include headache, confusion and stiffness. The vaccine was made available back in the 1930s.


Which of these illnesses will Proquad prevent?

ProQuad is one of the brand names for the MMRV vaccine. MMRV prevents a handful of illnesses, including measles, rubella, varicella (chickenpox) and, of course, mumps. It's one of the most common vaccines in use in America.


Pneumococcal pneumonia sounds awful, doesn't it? What'll prevent it?

Prevnar 13 is Pfizer's version of the vaccine to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia. There used to be an older vaccine called Prevnar, made by a different company, but Pfizer acquired it and retooled the vaccine with a new name.


Which disease can be prevented with a Zostavax vaccine?

Zostavax will prevent you from getting shingles. Shingles is caused by the same virus that will give you chickenpox. The vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years of age or older.


There's a vaccine that prevents hepatitis B, polio, pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus. What is it?

Pediarix is a brand name for the very confusingly named DTap-IPV-HepB vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline. It's arguably one of the most complete vaccines you can get right now, as it protects against five diseases.


You know what Fluzone prevents, right?

As you might guess from the name, Fluzone is a flu vaccine. It is administered as a single shot in the arm. Back in 2009, a high dose version, equivalent to four normal doses, was made available. It was developed for people 65 years old and above.


Stamaril is what you could take to prevent what disease?

Stamaril, produced by the company Sanofi, is the only vaccine for yellow fever licensed in the U.S. Supplies of the yellow fever vaccine are limited, so plan ahead if you expect to travel to areas with a risk of YF virus exposure.


Which pretty awful disease will Dengvaxia protect you against?

In 2016, Dengvaxia became available in a handful of countries to help combat dengue fever. The manufacturer recommends that it should only be taken by people who have had the disease before and survived, as taking it without those conditions could make a future illness even worse.


Daptacel was approved in 2002. Do you know what it prevents?

Deptacel vaccinates against diphtheria, as well as tetanus and pertussis. It's what they call a DTap vaccine, and it is recommended in a five-dose series for children as young as six weeks or up to six years of age.


What's Pneumovax 23 used to prevent?

Pneumovax 23 is what's called a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. It is recommended for use in people who are particularly at risk, such as the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, including HIV patients.


What's a dose of Shingrix going to stop you from contracting?

Shingrix is the commercial name of a vaccine for the shingles virus. The Shingrix vaccine has only been in use since 2017 in the United States, and it's shown to be more effective than Zostavax, the other commonly used shingles vaccine on the market.


Do you know what the vaccine called Trumenba can prevent?

Trumenba is one of three commercially available meningitis vaccines available in the U.S. This particular version is made by Pfizer and became available in 2014, but others have been around since the 1970s. The World Health Organization includes these vaccines on its list of essential medicines.


What could you take if you wanted to prevent smallpox?

ACAM2000 is a smallpox vaccine, which you don't hear much about since smallpox was "officially" eradicated in the '80s. That said, there's some fear of it being used as a biological weapon, so a vaccine still exists.


Panvax is a vaccine that got some press a few years back. What did it prevent?

The Panvax and Panvax H1N1 influenza vaccines were meant to handle different but deadly strains of the virus. Panvax was developed specifically to combat the H5N1 virus, and, obviously, H1N1 was meant for that strain, both of which had massive outbreaks around the world a few years back, including the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic.


Which of these vaccines prevents typhoid?

Vivotif is a commercially available typhoid vaccine. Not a lot of people are aware of this, but typhoid fever actually comes from a certain kind of salmonella bacteria, which is similar to the stuff you get from undercooked chicken. Typhoid, however, is generally spread by people who have been infected, not birds.


Can you tell us what RotaTeq is useful for preventing?

Rotavirus infections are among the most common in the entire world, and it's believed that nearly every child on Earth will contract some form of rotavirus before the age of 5. The most common symptom is diarrhea, but the severity can be life-threatening. RotaTeq is one of two vaccines against the illness that is available in the U.S.


What is Bexsero used to prevent?

Bexsero is a meningitis B vaccine produced by the pharmaceutical company Novartis. The FDA approved its use in 2015 in the United States, shortly after a meningitis outbreak on the campus of Princeton University.


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