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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 serious 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 

2. 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. 

3. Vaccines Are Safe for Children 

Due to their underdeveloped immune systems, children are among those who are most at risk ofg serious diseases 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. 

4. 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

As we observe National Immunization Awareness Month, it's crucial to understand the importance of routine vaccinations in preventing serious illnesses and diseases. This annual observance serves as a reminder for everyone to stay up-to-date with their immunizations and protect themselves and their communities. Make it a priority to prioritize your health and well-being. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your vaccination needs and ensure you're on track with your immunizations.

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. 

Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to serious diseases. Stay informed, stay protected, and take charge of your health today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to have open conversations about vaccines?

Having open talk about vaccines is crucial to address concerns, provide accurate information, and ensure that individuals have a clear understanding of the benefits and importance of vaccination in preventing serious illnesses.

How can I start a conversation about vaccines with my healthcare provider?

Starting a conversation about vaccines with your healthcare provider can be as simple as expressing your interest or asking questions. They are there to provide information, address concerns, and guide you in making informed decisions about your health.

Are there any alternative options to vaccines for preventing serious illness?

Vaccines are considered the most effective and reliable method to prevent serious illness caused by infectious diseases. While there may be some alternative prevention methods, they may not offer the same level of protection as vaccines.

Can vaccines be administered if I have a pre-existing medical condition or a weakened immune system?

In most cases, vaccines can still be administered to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions or weakened immune systems. However, it is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider to determine which vaccines are suitable and any potential precautions that may need to be taken.

Can I refuse routine vaccination?

While it is your choice whether or not to receive routine vaccinations, it is important to understand the potential risks associated with not being vaccinated. Refusing routine vaccination may leave you vulnerable to serious illnesses and contribute to the spread of contagious diseases.