Vaccines have played a major role in the significant reduction of childhood infectious disease. Diseases like polio and d small pox have been eliminated in the United States thanks to effective vaccines. Due to the success of immunization programs in the 20th century, many of today’s parents are unaware of the ability for these devastating diseases to reemerge. It is important for organization to continue being pro-active about educating today’s parents on the importance of vaccines.
It is important to communicate that the viruses and bacteria which cause vaccine-preventable diseases and death still exist. Unvaccinated individuals are at risk. Unvaccinated travelers may bring disease into the United States from other countries putting anyone who is unvaccinated at risk. For example, in December of 2014, there was a large measles outbreak which started in California at Disneyland and spread to additional states and Mexico. Measles is still common in regions such as Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. It is likely that the measles virus was brought in from an outside traveler and spread across unvaccinated individuals.
Like any medication, there are benefits and risk to vaccinations. Although highly effective, vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing disease in every individual. Most side effects of vaccines are relatively minor and short-lived, such as soreness at the injection site. Serious vaccine reactions are extremely rare.
‘"Parents should know that the risk of being harmed by a vaccine is significantly smaller than the risk of serious illness from infectious diseases," says Marion Gruber, Ph.D., director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in CBER. "Vaccination is a very important step to get children off to a healthy start (FDA)."’
Ensuring the safety and effectiveness of vaccines is one of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) top priorities. The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) is the center within FDA that has regulatory oversight of vaccines in the United States assuring the availability of safe and effective vaccines. There is a set of wonderful resources available on the FDA website for helping guide parents and caregivers on vaccinating their children.
As a provider, you have a great responsibility to safely store, handle, and administer these disease preventing vaccinations. Proper storage ensures that the vaccines you administer are potent and effective. To learn how a local physician’s network is ensuring their patients are receiving properly stored vaccinations, download the white paper below.