Vaccine: Simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them
Immunization has become an indisputable human right and is a global health and development success story which saving millions of lives every year. Vaccines use natural defence of the body to reduce the risk of getting a certain disease.
Vaccines have become a trending topic in the field of medicine due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. By 18th February 7 vaccines have been deployed for COVID-19 and more than 60 vaccines are in the clinical development stage.
Even though vaccination became a trending topic in the recent years, the practice of immunization dates a long way back to 17th century china. The first vaccine was developed against smallpox in 1796 by Edward Jenner.
In Sri Lanka, immunization dates back to 19th century and the law for compulsory vaccination was established in 1886 referred to as the Vaccination Ordinance of 1886. With the commencement of the Expanded Program on Immunization in 1978, focus was to control childhood T.B., tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, polio, and neo-natal tetanus. In 1988, the focus shifted to disease elimination. The Objectives of the National Immunization Program include Eradication of poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, measles, rubella and reduction of morbidity and mortality due to whooping cough, hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and due to Haemophilia’s influence B disease. (Information courtesy from Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Heath website)
Currently RemediumOne is managing a large-scale phase III vaccine trial in Sri Lanka. Which has recruited 2100 participants and carried out with the guidance of Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. Active surveillance is considered critical part in vaccine clinical trials. Active surveillance helps the researchers to generate evidence of case incidences and it is critical to assess the efficacy of the vaccine candidate. 2100 participants are being actively followed up (weekly contact) for last four years and active surveillance will continue for another 3 years. So far, the retention is maintained at a steady rate of 98.2%.