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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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This Week In FDA History - Aug. 17, 1955

Photo with caption
  Jonas Salk gives the vaccine to a child as part of a field trial at a Pittsburgh elementary school. (date likely February 1954) © University of Pittsburgh
August 17, 1955:
FDA announced the hiring of 48 temporary investigators through an earmarked congressional appropriation. They will carry out special assignments to help prevent the black market diversion of the new Salk polio vaccine, developed at the University of Pittsburgh.
FDA in 2006

Vaccines are now routinely given to children to protect them from major childhood diseases. The FDA oversees all aspects of vaccine development and production to assure safety and effectiveness, from the design of clinical investigations to inspections of manufacturing facilities and testing of every vaccine production lot. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national vaccine safety surveillance program co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention and the FDA. VAERS collects and analyzes information from reports of adverse events following immunization. Since 1990, VAERS has received over 123,000 reports, most of which describe mild side effects such as fever. Very rarely, people experience serious adverse events following immunization. By monitoring such events, VAERS helps to identify any important new safety concerns and thereby assists in ensuring that the benefits of vaccines continue to be far greater than the risks.