Vaccines are controversial, but quite frankly, they shouldn’t be. Vaccines are safe — but because all of the false information clouding up social media channels, it can be challenging to see the truth through the haze.
Let’s break it down.
Are Vaccines Safe?
First of all, vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary for the general health of the population. Without vaccines, we would see the return of long-forgotten diseases that have been under control for decades. This resurgence could result in widespread sickness and death.
Before any vaccine is made available to the public, it goes through years of testing and evaluation for it to be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Tests are conducted in clinical trials that begin with 20 to 100 volunteers being vaccinated. After the initial tests, trials with thousands of volunteers are conducted. These tests and clinical trials take several years before the safety of the vaccine is verified, the correct dosage is determined, and the immune system reaction is gauged.
But the testing doesn’t end after a vaccine has been approved. Every batch of vaccine produced is tested for potency, purity, and sterility, and the results are reviewed by the FDA to ensure quality and safety standards are being met.
Once a vaccine has proven safe and effective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a vaccine schedule. The vaccine schedule is s endorsed by multiple independent scientific and medical bodies such as the American Academy for Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Indiana State Department of Health.
What About the Side Effects?
Just as any other medication can, yes, vaccines can cause side effects. However, the majority of these side effects are mild and consist of swelling, soreness, and redness at the injection site.
It is possible to suffer from achiness, a fever, or a rash, but serious side effects such as a seizure or a life-threatening allergic reaction are rare and estimated to occur in only one out of one million doses. In the rare event that a serious side effect does occur, it is immediately reported to the CDC and investigated. All side effects are monitored through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
When we have the ability to prevent so many diseases, skipping vaccines because of misinformation is a tragedy. The benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.
So, are vaccines safe? Yes, they are.
For more information about vaccine safety, read our post: Vaccine Myths: Get the Facts.