The safety of vaccines is a point of contention for many people. You’ve probably heard of the myth about the measles vaccine causing autism or that the flu vaccine causes the flu.
Just to be clear: Vaccines go through lengthy clinical trials plus a rigorous approval process by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a vaccine safety program that constantly monitors vaccines, identifies possible side effects, and conducts research on whether they cause health problems.
Any vaccines that fail to satisfy the FDA’s and CDC’s standards will not be approved for use. If any existing vaccines show failure, they will be removed from the market immediately.
As of now, the United States’ vaccine supply is at its safest and most effective since vaccines have been in use. Here’s why you can trust in the safety of vaccinations for yourself and your whole family.
Clinical Trial Phase of Vaccines
Before any type of vaccination is made available to the public, it undergoes a multi-phase clinical trial that could go on for years to ensure its efficacy. The studies are performed by manufacturers.
If a vaccine is deemed to be effective and safe by a manufacturer, the FDA performs rigorous tests and analysis to determine whether the vaccine is indeed safe and effective. If the FDA determines that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any potential risks, they will likely grant approval for public use. Many vaccines do not pass this extensive process, so they are never made available to the public.
After securing FDA approval comes the post-licensure studies. At this phase, continuing studies are conducted on the safety of the vaccine.
At this point, the groups who may have been underrepresented during the clinical trials will be included in the study. It is in these post-licensure studies that researchers often discover extremely rare adverse reactions to the vaccines.
Further Vaccine Testing and Distribution
Batches of the vaccine are then made, and the manufacturer tests every batch to make sure the medicine is safe and pure. The FDA will then review the quality and safety of the vaccine batches (which are called “lots”).
The FDA doesn’t stop testing the vaccine on a regular basis. In fact, they continue to visit the manufacturing facilities to ensure the quality and safety of the vaccines.
Addition to the U.S Recommended Immunization Schedule
Different medical groups and public health experts form an advisory committee on immunization practices (ACIP), where they deliberate on recommendations for vaccine use. While making recommendations, the different medical groups carefully consider factors such as the degree of protection the vaccine provides and how many people would likely get the disease without it.
However, the ACIP merely deliberates and makes recommendations. Ultimately, the CDC reviews the recommendations and gives approval (or disapproval) for the vaccine to be added to the official immunization schedule.
FDA and CDC Quality and Safety Checks
Even after the approval of a vaccine, the FDA and CDC continue to monitor the safety and quality of the vaccine. For this reason, there is no reason to doubt the safety of vaccinations.
Vaccines and Immunizations in Kent, Washington
While you may hear stories and rumors of extremely rare adverse side effects (just as any medication has side effects), rest assured that many, many lives are saved every year thanks to vaccines. There is no reason for you to put your loved ones’ lives at risk because someone somewhere has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine.
Here at FamilyCare of Kent, we are 100% pro-vaccine. Our nurse practitioners follow the CDC-recommended vaccine and immunization schedule according to age, and we have life-saving vaccines available to our patients.
If you have concerns about vaccine safety, we are happy to answer all questions you may have about each vaccine. To schedule a consultation, call us at FamilyCare of Kent today at (253) 859-2273 or request an appointment via our online form. We look forward to partnering with you to maintain optimum health of you and your whole family.