MADISON (WKOW) -- As the world continues to battle COVID-19, the status and eventual use of a vaccine are subjects of constant debate. In order to address questions and confusion, UW Health officials are going over how vaccines are tested and why they work.
For a vaccine to be approved and recommended to the public by medical professionals, it needs to pass numerous tests. Even with the urgency surrounding COVIID-19 vaccines, those protocols are still being followed to ensure any eventual vaccine is safe and effective.
Many care treatments, including vaccines, go through clinical trials. Clinical trials take place in three phases.
- Phase 1 is a human trial that tests a vaccine for any major side effects.
- Phase 2 is another human trial that tests a wider population to better understand its dosage and effectiveness.
- Phase 3 clinical trials test the vaccine on a large group of people, sometimes several thousand, to ensure it is both safe and effective for a population.
Several COVID-19 vaccines are now or will soon be in phase 3.
Vaccines are about preventing the disease, not treating it. A vaccine activates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease, but without getting you sick. Once you are vaccinated, you develop immunity to the disease without having to get the disease first.