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)
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)
1.WUENIC-Immunization Coverage- are we losing ground . 2020
This has been prepared by the PPS Committee on Immunization.