Let's Champion Immunization!

Vaccination  has long been recognized as a proven preventive measure in the control and at best in the eradication of life -threatening infections . One perfect example is smallpox .

Immunization coverage rates for  vaccines  against preventable diseases such as  diphtheria, polio, pertussis, Hib, rotavirus , tetanus , pneumococcal  and measles have plateaued and has never reached the  95%  target since its introduction in the  1980`s in national immunization programs  , giving rise to outbreaks in certain regions  globally. (1)

In the Philippines, coverage rates have suffered  drastically in the last couple of years due to fears of vaccine safety, vaccine  misinformation and disinformation which has impacted on our public health programs.

The pandemic has  further driven down  these rates at alarming levels leaving our children and the vulnerable susceptible to disease  and requiring targeted strategies.

It is in this direction that we urge our fellow pediatricians  to  once again encourage their patients to have their catchup immunization  and support the Department of Health`s Campaign against Measles and Polio .

 

Your Top  3  Safety Issues Answered

QUESTION 1 : Do vaccines undergo extensive investigation ?

Yes. The whole  scientific process from development to manufacture and licensure  is  lengthy,  thorough , respects ethical considerations and is always  under the administration of regulatory authorities such as the FDA

QUESTION 2 : What is the purpose of clinical trials?

Clinical Trials involve human volunteers and  are conducted in 4 phases to ensure vaccine safety and effectiveness. (2)

4 Phases

Phase 1  : Test of  safety,  efficacy, occurrence of serious side effects, size of dose related to side effects

Phase 2 : Test of most common short term side effects, response of immune system of volunteers to the vaccine

Phase 3  : Test between   people who get the vaccine  as opposed to those  who do not ,and how  they compare , vaccine safety , effectiveness ,  and the more common side effects.

Phase 4: Involves continuous monitoring of safety and effectiveness after licensure for public use

QUESTION 3 : What are the possible harmful side effects of vaccines and can they cause illness and even death ?

 Vaccines are actually very safe, despite implications to the contrary in many anti-vaccine publications. Most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. These can often be controlled by taking paracetamol after vaccination. More serious adverse events occur rarely (on the order of one per thousands to one per millions of doses), and some are so rare that risk cannot be accurately assessed. As for vaccines causing death, again so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically.’(3)

References:

1.WUENIC-Immunization Coverage- are we losing ground . 2020

2.https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/ensuringsafety

3.https://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/initiative/detection/immunization_misconceptions

 

This has been prepared by the PPS Committee on Immunization.