Vaccine Safety

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Vaccine Safety

APHRC is committed to generating an Africa-led and Africa-owned body of evidence to inform decision making for an effective and sustainable response to the most critical challenges facing the continent.

Vaccine safety General public

Are vaccines medicines?

Medicines are agents (chemical/biological) used to prevent, diagnose or and treat disease. Vaccines are a special kind of preventive medicine that primarily prepares the body’s immune system to fight off diseases.

Are children’s immunization schedules safe?

Children’s immunization schedules are safe because individual vaccines have been extensively studied in terms of their beneficial effects, side effects, timing of when they are most beneficial, timing of highest risk of exposure and adverse outcomes as well as the most cost-effective delivery mechanism within the healthcare system. 

What is collective immunity?

Collective immunity or herd immunity or community immunity refers to a situation whereby a high number of individuals in a given community are immune against a given infection thus making transmission between individuals less likely. The reduced likelihood of transmission between individuals protects even the non-immune due to the reduced chances of getting into contact with an infected person. 

Can vaccines make us sick?

Vaccines are generally made from components of disease-causing agents or live attenuated agents. While these components provoke the body into mounting an immune response, the provocation is only limited as the agents have no ability to multiply, grow and spread. There have, however, been rare occurrences of vaccine-derived infection in vaccines that use live attenuated vaccines such as polio.

Do multiple injections overload the immune system?

Approved vaccines schedules (series of vaccines given to an individual) cannot overload the immune system as these are carefully studied and calibrated for safe use. They offer a booster effect so that individuals are able to mount a stronger response should they get exposed to an infection. To reduce the number of shots as well as the number of visits children are offered combination vaccines. These are two or more vaccines combined into a single shot. Scientific data show that getting several vaccines at the same time (i.e multiple shots or combination vaccines) does not cause any chronic health problems. In fact, a number of studies have looked at the effects of giving various combinations of vaccines and when every new vaccine is licensed, it is tested along with the vaccines already recommended for a particular child’s age.
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Our teams orient their research agendas to global and continental development priorities bringing independent evidence to the forefront of decisions supporting improved growth and development in the region.

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The Center builds relationships with key decision-making bodies at the national, regional and global levels to encompass engagements with government and non-government entities, as well as academic, advocacy and research institutions.