Safety of Vaccines
Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health. Routine immunization has drastically reduced the incidence of preventable infectious diseases globally. Through vaccination it was possible to eradicate smallpox entirely, and cases of diseases such as polio, pertussis and measles are at an all-time low. Immunizations are among the most effective and safest of all health tools. As the use of vaccines has become so common and widespread (many governments have even made vaccination mandatory), some people tend to focus more on the risks associated with vaccines than the consequences of preventable diseases like meningococcal or streptococcal infections or influenza.
Extremely high safety standards have been placed on vaccines for reasons including the fact that most vaccines are given to healthy people, many of whom are children. Before a vaccine is approved for licensure, it must undergo extensive tests in the laboratory and in humans. In compliance with international guidelines, researchers test the safety of the vaccine in animals. Once the vaccine has been proven safe in animal models, it may be tested in clinical trials in human volunteers.