Why Vaccine Production Is Important
October 27, 2020
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Smallpox is one of history’s most brutal diseases, with a mortality rate near 20 percent and lifelong disfigurement for those who survived. Luckily, it’s one you don’t have to worry about catching. Thanks to the world’s first aggressive vaccination campaign (the bovine variant that triggered smallpox immunity is what lent the term its name), this disease that ravaged so many bodies and took so many lives has been eradicated. This means it is not only under control but gone from the face of the earth! Polio, which paralyzed millions well into the 20th century, has been eradicated in the wild from most of the world, and health officials hope to extend that progress into Africa and South Asia. Other diseases, from measles to influenza, have also been limited and controlled through vaccination.

However, without effective mass production and distribution, none of this progress would be possible. As we confront new public health challenges, understanding why vaccine production is important will clarify the process that takes a vaccine from laboratory to immune system.

Extensive Testing

When dealing with infectious diseases, producers must take great care to ensure the safety of a vaccine. This requires a long and comprehensive series of trials across multiple demographic cohorts. This can entail producing batches from multiple strains of a viral specimen to find the one that is safest and most effective. Only after doctors have confirmed a vaccine’s safety among the population can they declare it ready for market.

Careful Storage

Vaccines are made of weakened or dead samples of a virus, which activate the body’s immune system as if it were encountering that virus in its live form. This way, the immune system is prepared for more dangerous encounters in the future. But these specimens are delicate and precious and must be kept in ideal conditions. Failure to keep vaccine inventory at the proper temperature can cause the specimen to degrade past the point where the immune system can recognize the virus.

Effective Distribution

A vaccine must be readily available to the general public to be useful. Pharmacies, schools, and community health centers can all provide simple and affordable points of access. Without these common distribution locations, we cannot reach the immunity levels required for the general public to fend off diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and influenza.

Exploring why vaccine production is important may help you explain the process to patients who are restless for new developments in vaccines. Without exhaustive testing and proper preservation, however, these treatments can be ineffective and may even do more harm than good.

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