Question: I do not know where vaccines come from. How do I know if vaccines are safe?
Quick facts on vaccine safety
Vaccines are among the safest health products in the world. They are extensively tested for safety before being accepted into immunization programs, and they are made in specialized manufacturing plants all over the world. They generally are made from killed or weakened pieces of the germs that cause the diseases. Every vaccine is tested and approved by the World Health Organization before it reaches any country.
How are vaccines made safe?
Development of a vaccine is a rigorous scientific process with safety checks along the process. This is done to ensure that vaccines are safe and efficient. In addition, when making vaccines, health professionals work to ensure that at every step the benefits outweigh the risks. This involves not only scientists but people trained in ethical issues. There are also lay people like you and I to ensure that the concerns and interests of the end user are taken into consideration.
The process of ensuring that vaccines are safe does not end with control of the manufacturing process; neither is it done with when WHO or your country’s Health ministry approves use of a vaccine. Indeed, scientists working with public health officials and health professionals administrating vaccines to actively, continually look out for and recording any adverse effects. Collecting this information helps health authorities take quick action in any eventuality.
Further once is use, vaccines are transported and stored in a process informed by special knowledge so as to ensure they remain safe and potent.
How do I know if vaccines are safe?
- Always talk to your health provider to find out what to look out for after your child gets vaccinated.
- Find out when, if needed, you should come to hospital or seek medical advice after vaccination.
- Feel free to ask if the vaccine is safe before it is administered. For example, is it expired? Was it stored properly to ensure its efficiency?
- Volunteer any health information that may be of use to your doctor before giving consent for your child to receive vaccine. Information about drug allergies that you or your child may have is particularly useful; and so is your child’s health status such as if they suffer from a bleeding disorder or disease.
- Also let your doctor know about your child’s prior immunization history and whether they experienced any adverse events before after receiving immunization.
I regret that you might not trust us, but please know that the recommendations we are making are made all over the world. While in Africa vaccine coverage is often limited, some countries are lucky to give even more vaccines to their children.
- I would like you to trust us because we have your child’s best interests at heart. But if you would like, please speak with a healthcare professional near you on the information you have read on our website.
- You should also know that here at Eastview Family Health, we make sure that our own children have all recommended vaccinations, so clearly, we are very confident in vaccinations.
While at the hospital, find out if a doctor, clinical officer or nurse is available to speak with you about vaccines. If not, you can make an appointment to speak to one later. You can also do some reading by yourself on vaccine safety. As you self study, keep in mind that there is a lot of false information about vaccination on the internet. Therefore, it is best for you to use only websites from reputable organizations such as the ones below.
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit Website ->
- Immunization Action Coalition. Visit Website->
- Other credible websites, especially in the national language(s), including the website of your country’s Ministry of Health. Here you are likely to find well-done national publications with solid information on immunization.
This information on vaccines for babies and children was sourced, then aggregated and edited by our team of health professionals. The key sources are:
- United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘IPC for Immunization Package’, UNICEF, New York, 2019.
Immunize.Org (IAC). (n.d.). Vaccine Information You Need From The Immunization Action Coalition. Vaccineinformation.Org. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from https://vaccineinformation.org/
Care for You and Your Family Starts Here
Find doctors and hospitals near you anywhere in Africa