By Stephanie Wasserman, MSPH
Executive Director, Immunize Colorado
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused over 2.6 million cases around the world and is growing each day, has shown us—in the most alarming way—the indisputable value of vaccines. And though we are at least a year away from having an effective COVID-19 vaccine, we do need to remember that we already have many available vaccines that are safe and highly effective against dozens of dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases that once ran rampant across the globe. Most of us have never seen the ravages of polio or measles, but these diseases can come roaring back if we do not stay vigilant about maintaining high vaccination rates.
The COVID-19 virus has quickly spread across the globe, causing half a million cases and nearly 40,000 deaths. In the U.S., we’ve seen over 160,000 reported cases as of March 30, and the actual number is likely much higher. Disease is spreading rapidly, and health systems are struggling to keep pace. Across the country, non-essential businesses are being required to shut their doors, schools are closing—some for the remainder of the school year—, and state governors are issuing Stay-At-Home orders requiring that people not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.
We are living in a new and uncertain reality. But to many, the fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is familiar. This is not the first time our society has experienced a pandemic like COVID-19; it is not the first time that people have been afraid to leave their homes, or that healthcare workers have struggled to keep pace with the number of cases.
By Aimee Pugh-Bernard, PhD
This post was originally published on April 4, 2013 and updated on March 17, 2020.
In the third installment of the Immunology 101 Series, Aimee explains the process of vaccine development. Vaccines undergo rigorous testing and must be proven extremely safe and effective before they are available for use in the general public.
As you may know from reading the first Immunology 101 Series post, vaccines train our immune systems to recognize and respond quickly to infection to keep us healthy. Reading the second Immunology 101 Series post, you learned that there are several different forms of vaccines, each created to produce the most effective vaccine possible based on the unique properties of each type of pathogen. In this post you will learn about the process of vaccine development. The process is lengthy and rigorous, just as it should be to prove that the end product is safe and effective! Read more
The Benefits of Immunization Information Systems to Public Health Efforts
Immunization Information Systems (IIS) are confidential electronic records of vaccine information which provide a powerful public health tool for patient care, especially during an outbreak. The benefits of IIS occur on an individual and societal level and include but are not limited to: data usage and collection, timely and accurate patient care, and efficient resource allocation. Access to immunization records allows providers, patients, and some partner organizations, such as schools, to access data in order to inform or notify parties of missing or needed immunizations.