Over the years, vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives. Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved one from potentially harmful diseases. Diseases preventable by vaccine can be very serious and may lead to hospitalization or death – especially among infants, young children and the elderly.
Vaccines are made from very small amounts of weak or dead germs that can cause diseases – for example, viruses, bacteria, or toxins. It prepares your body to fight the disease faster and more effectively so you won’t be sick, or at least not weaken the affects of the disease.
Vaccines are available at doctor’s offices and many pharmacies. Most vaccines are covered by insurance. They don’t just protect you, but also those around you – like infants and people with weak or failing immune systems – who may not be able to get many vaccines.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses the information from these tests to decide whether to test the vaccine with people. During clinical trials, a vaccine is tested on people who volunteer to get vaccinated. Trials start with 20-100 people, but eventually grow to include thousands of volunteers. These test take several years. Throughout the process, the FDA works closely with the company producing the vaccines to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. All safety concerns must be addressed before the FDA licenses a vaccine.
Every batch of vaccines is tested for quality and safety. Once a vaccine is approved, it continues to be tested. The company that makes the vaccine tests batches to make sure the vaccine is potent, pure, and sterile. The FDA reviews the results of these tests and inspects the factories where the vaccine is made. This helps make sure the vaccines meet standard for both quality and safety.
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