Vaccine Development Overview
Public health officials have been preparing for this vaccine before the virus was first discovered in 2019. Two previous coronaviruses, SARS, that emerged in China in 2002 and MERS, that emerged in the Middle East in 2012 taught us a lot about developing a safe and effective vaccine for a coronavirus. The COVID-19 vaccines have been produced faster than any other vaccine, but they have followed the very same process as any other vaccine, including studying tens of thousands of participants of different ages, races and ethnicities.
The key processes that allowed for more rapid vaccine development include:
- Head start using SARS/MERS research
- Overlapping trial phases saves time
- Build factories and produce vaccines while trials are still underway
- Set up distribution plan early
- Emergency use authorization for rapid approval once trials are finished
- Phased vaccine delivery to get vaccine quickly to those most in need
Vaccines must meet the highest standards of safety and have minimal side effects because they generally are given to healthy people to prevent disease. Vaccines undergo strict regulatory control by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other federal agencies, is committed to assuring the safety of vaccines through rigorous pre‑licensure trials, as well as post-licensing monitoring. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccines in its history.
The Richmond City and Henrico County Health Districts share the goal of ensuring safe vaccines, and the safety of our residents is our number one priority.
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