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“Vaccine” is a word you have probably heard a lot of during these past few months. But have you heard that every year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 50,000 American adults died from vaccine-preventable diseases? Vaccines are a convenient and safe preventative measure to ensure your protection from illnesses and infections. Not only do vaccines protect you, but they prevent the spread of contagious diseases that can also affect those around you. Here are four things that can help you to better understand vaccines: 

  1. Vaccines Provide Immunization Against Infectious Diseases

Think of vaccines or immunizations as protective gear. Just as athletes wear protective pads during a sporting event or astronauts wear space suits during an expedition in an unknown environment, vaccines protect us from various diseases we are exposed to in our everyday lives. The CDC estimates that every year, tens of thousands of Americans contract a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine. Vaccines not only protect the individual who receives immunizations, but they protect society as a whole. Over time, vaccines have already eliminated the spread of what used to be common infectious diseases, including the following: 

  • Measles 
  • Polio
  • Whooping Cough 
  • Tetanus 

  1. Vaccines Undergo Years of Testing

Like the development of any new product, vaccines are subjected to years of development and testing prior to their approval and release. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA’s) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) is responsible for regulating vaccines. After a vaccine has undergone the various stages of the developmental cycle, the sponsor of the new vaccine is required to follow an extensive approval process which generally includes the following: 

  • An Investigational New Drug application- This ensures that those who receive the vaccine will not face harmful effects 
  • Pre-licensure vaccine clinical trials- During this stage, the vaccine will be monitored for any adverse reactions. 
  • A Biologics License Application (BLA)- This is a request for permission to introduce the vaccine product into interstate commerce.   
  • Inspection of the manufacturing facility-  The goal of inspecting vaccine manufacturing facilities is to ensure Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) or to provide authorization for the manufacturing of the vaccine. 
  • Presentation of findings to the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC)- The committee will review and evaluate data regarding the vaccine. This includes measures of safety, effectiveness, and appropriate use of the vaccines. 
  • Usability testing of product labeling- The last stage of this process evaluates the participant’s satisfaction with the vaccine product. 

  1. Vaccines Are Safe for Children 

Due to their underdeveloped immune systems, children are among those who are most at risk of contracting serious illnesses or diseases. That is why vaccines are not only a valuable prevention method for adults and the elderly, but for younger age groups as well. Children are exposed to thousands of germs every day. Vaccines allow the body to develop antibodies which strengthens a child’s immune system and protects a child from contracting certain diseases. Typically, child vaccinations are completed between birth and six years old. Immunizations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, but they also protect other children and immunocompromised groups from spreading these diseases. 

  1. Vaccine Symptoms: What Are They?

Vaccines, like any other medical product, may cause side effects. These side effects are mild and will typically go away within a few days. It is rare to experience long-lasting, and severe side effects after receiving a vaccination. The following are common side effects of vaccinations: 

  • Swelling at the site of injection 
  • Soreness
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Headache

The team at Prima Care is focused on providing you with the treatment and care you need to ensure healthy living. Our group of board-certified Family Medicine and Internal Medicine Physicians are here to not only treat illnesses and injuries, but perform physical examinations and ensure you are up to date on your vaccinations. Schedule your appointment today or call (744)375-0504 for more information.