By Dr. Amitava SenGupta
Director – Mother & Child Unit, Neonatology and Paediatrics Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon
Vaccines are a boon to prevention from many serious infectious diseases and are administered to otherwise healthy children. Vaccination/Immunization is the best way to ensure that your child is protected against various diseases. The government, WHO and various other international organizations after various researches and trails have finalized on a program to immunize children and ensure their safety. Some of these vaccines prevent infant mortality. Immunizations help prevent diseases that can lead to pneumonia, deafness, blindness, neurological and cardiac problems along with a risk of life-long disability or death.
Vaccines- Are they safe?
Vaccines are dynamically tested and extremely safe medical products. Vaccines are systematically tested over long periods before they are licensed and publicly available. After circulation, continuous monitoring ensures that each dose of the vaccine is optimally safe.
Vaccine Companies constantly test their products and submit key tests results, along with samples of the product, to the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for evaluation before the CBER approves the release of that lot of vaccine for administration. Tests related to sterility, identity, purity, and potency to assess immunogenicity are performed on the final product.
The Indian counterpart of FDA, USA is the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, which operates with a similar format.
In addition to testing of the actual vaccine, there is a system in place by which adverse symptoms that may have been caused by a vaccine can be reported into a central program which collects this information about possible side effects. This system is called the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).
Do vaccines cause any major side effects?
Side effects may occur with vaccines, as with any other medication. These side effects are usually minor and most often include tenderness or swelling at the injection site and mild to moderate grade fever. Severe reactions to vaccines are extremely rare. Parents should discuss any known allergies with their pediatrician, since it is often a known allergic reaction to a vaccine component that causes a more severe reaction.
Vaccines protect children- Don’t worry parents!
Parents often worry about vaccines causing health problems, such as Autism or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Expert research committees across the world have found no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism or any other illnesses. Vaccines reflect huge benefits to the health of children throughout their lives.
It is advised to all families that they protect their children against numerous deadly diseases by opting for the prescribed vaccination chart. Consult your pediatrician for more details.