One of our greatest public health success stories is the creation of vaccines. Introducing vaccinations throughout childhood is essential in providing immunity to children who become exposed to potential life-threatening diseases. They’re a safe and easy way to keep you and your family healthy.
Vaccines differ from medication because they work to prevent a disease before it happens rather than treating or curing a disease. With each vaccine, you develop immunity to a particular disease even without having had it. The same germs that cause disease (or imitations of them) are put into the vaccine in a weakened form that stimulates your body to produce antibodies. The eradication of smallpox and near-elimination of polio are proof that vaccines are highly effective.
Every ingredient plays an essential role in the makeup of vaccinations. Each serves a purpose to either boost the body’s response, keep the vaccine effective, prevent contamination or ensure that the final product remains safe and effective over time.
Vaccinations go through many steps before being administered to the public. Clinical trials are conducted to study the development, testing and approval process before the Food and Drug Administration can decide if it is effective, safe and ready for use. Once approved and distributed, post-licensure safety studies continuously monitor the safety of each vaccine and any rare adverse effects it may have.
Unfortunately, no vaccination is 100% effective and there may be side effects. Everyone’s body reacts differently, but most side effects are minor and short-lived. It’s a priority of the CDC and FDA to ensure all vaccinations are safe before and after they are made available. For the United States to have the safest supply in history, the nation’s longstanding vaccine safety system is constantly updating and improving as more science and information becomes available.