After completing this article, readers should be able to:
Vaccines use the knowledge of the immune system to mimic infection, generate immunologic memory, and prepare the body for future infections. An ideal vaccine provides lifelong immunity from disease and protects against multiple strains of the same disease; it is safe, inexpensive, stable, and preferably not administered via injection. (1)
The main objective of the vaccination schedule is to protect individuals from disease by providing immunity before they acquire disease. (2) Long-term immunity is important in determining the effectiveness of the immunization schedule. Along with this, short-term protection, local prevalence and incidence, disease epidemiology, safety, and programmatic aspects (including number of doses, funding, organization, and cost) are important factors in determining the immunization schedule. (3)(4)
Development of vaccine schedules is based on a large body of basic sciences and epidemiologic research. There is...