The overall safety profile of currently available vaccines directed against infectious diseases

Robert M. Jacobson, Kim S. Zabel, Gregory A. Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The vaccines currently used worldwide for the prevention of infectious diseases are quite safe in comparison to most pharmaceutical and biological agents. Vaccine components may contribute to inflammatory, allergic or anaphylactic reactions. Most adverse events are transient and well-tolerated. Transient severe adverse reactions occur at rates of one in one thousand vaccinations; permanent severe adverse reactions occur on the order of one in one million. The most common of the severe adverse reactions are syncope and allergic reactions. Providers can take steps to prevent or ameliorate these reactions by pursuing both prelicensure testing (albeit limited) and postlicensure testing and monitoring. Systems that enhance the detection of safety concerns include national passive and active surveillance as well as regional vaccine registries and provider-based patient education. Since vaccines are used in universal programmes, their safety is paramount to their continued acceptance. Healthcare managers, including administrators of hospitals, clinics, practice groups, health maintenance organisations (HMOs) and managed care plans, can and should support providers in minimising adverse events associated with vaccines by supporting postvaccination observation policies, postlicensure testing and surveillance, vaccine registries and patient education systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • contraindications
  • records
  • registries
  • safety
  • safety management
  • vaccination
  • vaccination/adverse effects
  • vaccines
  • vaccines/adverse effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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