Immunization Awareness Month: Making the Vaccine Decision
August 3, 2021, 5:17 pm
August is Immunization Awareness Month. With so much information—and sometimes incorrect information—available today, learning the facts before making health decisions is very important. Please reach out to your Primary Care Provider, or your children’s pediatrician, with any specific questions about vaccines.
How Vaccines Work: Preventing Diseases
The diseases vaccines prevent can be dangerous, or even deadly.
Statistically, the chances of you or your child getting diseases such as measles, pertussis, or another vaccine-preventable disease might be low, and you or your child might never need the protection vaccines offer. However, you don’t want them to be lacking the protection vaccines provide if they ever do need it.
All ingredients of vaccines play necessary roles either in making the vaccine, triggering the body to develop immunity, or in ensuring that the final product is safe and effective. Some of these include:
- Adjuvants help boost the body’s response to vaccine. (Also found in antacids, buffered aspirin, antiperspirants, etc.)
- Stabilizers help keep vaccine effective after manufactured (Also found in foods such as Jell-O® and resides in the body naturally.)
- Formaldehyde is used prevent contamination by bacteria during the vaccine manufacturing process. Resides in body naturally (more in body than vaccines). (Also, found in environment, preservatives, and household products.)
- Thimerosal is also used during the manufacturing process but is no longer an ingredient in any vaccine except multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine. Single dose vials of the flu vaccine are available as an alternative. No reputable scientific studies have found an association between thimerosal in vaccines and autism.
Vaccines are Safe
The safety of vaccines is often a topic of media stories and blog postings. This attention may make you wonder, “How do I know vaccines are safe?”
Before a vaccine is ever given to people, FDA oversees extensive lab testing of the vaccine that can take several years to make sure it is safe and effective. After the lab, testing in people begins, and it can take several more years before the clinical studies are complete and the vaccine is licensed.
Once a vaccine is licensed, FDA, CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other federal agencies routinely monitor its use and investigate any potential safety concerns.