The Revised Authoritative Guide To Vaccine Legal Exemptions

Vaccines Have Serious Side Effects

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The discipline of immunology has its roots in the early vaccination trials of Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur. Since those pioneering efforts, vaccines have been developed for many diseases that were once major afflictions of mankind. The incidence of diseases such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), poliomyelitis, and tetanus has declined dramatically as vaccination has become more common. Clearly, vaccination is a cost-effective weapon for disease prevention. Perhaps in no other case have the benefits of vaccination been as dramatically evident as in the eradication of smallpox, one of mankind's long-standing and most terrible scourges. Since October 1977, not a single naturally acquired smallpox case has been reported anywhere in the world. Equally encouraging is the predicted eradication of polio. The last recorded case of naturally acquired polio in the Western Hemisphere occurred in Peru in 1991, and the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that paralytic polio will be eradicated throughout the world within the next few years. A new addition to the weapons against childhood disease is a vaccine against bacterial pneumonia, a major cause of infant death.

A crying need remains for vaccines against other diseases. Every year, millions throughout the world die from malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS, diseases for which there are no effective vaccines. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that 16,000 individuals a day, or 5.8 million a year, become infected with HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. An effective vaccine could have an immense impact on the control of this tragic spread of death and disaster. In addition to the challenges presented by diseases for which no vaccines exist, there remains the need to improve the safety and efficacy of present vaccines and to find ways to lower their cost and deliver them efficiently to all who need them, especially in developing countries of the world. The WHO estimates that millions of infant deaths in the world are due to diseases that could be prevented by existing vaccines (see Clinical Focus).

The road to successful development of a vaccine that can be approved for human use, manufactured at reasonable cost, and efficiently delivered to at-risk populations is costly, long, and tedious. Procedures for manufacture of materials that can be tested in humans and the ways they are tested in clinical trials are regulated closely. Even those candidate vaccines that survive initial scrutiny and are approved for use in human trials are not guaranteed to find their way into

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