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Childhood Vaccines Are Safe, and We Have Even More Data to Prove it

Childhood Vaccines Are Safe, and We Have Even More Data to Prove it

A new systematic analysis of tens of thousands of studies confirms, yet again, that childhood vaccinations are overwhelmingly safe for use.

Back in 2011, an analysis of 1,000 peer reviewed studies showed that, as existing literature had already found, childhood vaccinations are safe and the likelihood of complications are extremely low. The study, authored by multiple medical groups under the Institute of Medicine (IOM) umbrella, found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism, and the data showed that the vast majority of vaccines carry little no risk to a child’s health.

Of the few that were shown to raise the chances of developing some sort of health complications, like particular vaccines, those instances were few and far between and the chances of serious health problems, like anaphylaxis, even more rare. In essence, vaccines were found to be a safe and cost effective way of preventing numerous diseases.

That study remains the most comprehensive of its kind, and researchers wanted to build off that work to continue to assess vaccine safety. Now, three years on, researchers have attempted to update that information with a new systematic review, which involves gathering together large amounts of data on the topic, selecting studies from it based on quality and other criteria, and then synthesizing an impartial overview. This leaves little room for fudging or biasing the results.

Since 2011 around 3,000 studies have been conducted on vaccine safety. The latest review whittles those down to 67 scientific papers, with criteria for selection being robust control groups and follow-up reports after the main research has concluded. The research also draws on more than 20,000 science titles. If anything, this puts the threshold for vaccine safety very high.

Published this month in the journal Pediatrics, the latest systematic analysis also included new research that wasn’t present in the 2011 analysis on things like the hepatitis vaccines, and we’ll deal with that first. The new analysis showed that the hepatitis B vaccine does not appear to cause adverse effects, despite what some groups have claimed. The research also again found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Furthermore, the polio vaccine was not associated with creating food allergies, as has been claimed, and absolutely no vaccine was linked with causing leukemia or death.

The research did find that some vaccines carried a small risk of potential health problems. For instance, the meningitis and pneumonia vaccine known as the Hib or Hib/C vaccine had a small but significant link with developing a mild, localized rash around the injection site. The analysis showed that, without any other underlying condition, this did not progress into anything more serious.

More moderately serious reactions were observable for other vaccines. The hepatitis A vaccine, as well as the MMR and chicken pox vaccine, were shown to carry the risk of recipients developing what’s known as purpura, which is a skin rash caused by small blood vessels near the surface of the skin leaking. Again, on its own this is not a serious condition.

In terms of potentially serious health problems, the MMR vaccine and the TIV flu vaccine were in a minority of cases linked to fever related seizures, but again this was rare. Some vaccines were linked with the potential for anaphylaxis but this was usually attributable to existing allergies and not a spontaneous event. Lastly, there was some evidence that the two rotavirus vaccinations can twist the bowels of children, but that condition is treatable and has not directly led to any fatalities.

In conclusion, the authors of the study found that the complications relating to vaccines are very rare. Weighed against the massive benefits that vaccines have brought us, in some cases eliminating certain childhood diseases, the researchers believe these findings illustrate very clearly why anti-vaccine paranoia is unfounded.

“We found that serious adverse events that are linked to vaccines are really rare, and that when they do occur they are often not necessarily severe,” Courtney Gidengil, co-author of this systematic analysis, told the press. “We think this adds to the body of evidence that the benefits really do seem to clearly outweigh the low risk of serious side effects from vaccines.”

Given that the United States is currently experiencing an 18-year high of measles cases, and how anti-vaccination groups continue to make Americans feel uncertain about whether they should vaccinate their children based on flawed research, this research is vital for presenting the facts, which are that vaccines have repeatedly been shown to be effective, and indeed that they have saved countless lives.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock.

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3:54AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Dee, Barbara's explained the difference, but it seems to be one of "semantics" and there IS a difference between being discontinued and "removed/taken off" the market. The latter indicates a failure or something went wrong and there is a risk...........sort of like GM taking cars off the road because they're dangerous. However, when a model fails to sell, it's "discontinued". It doesn't mean there is something wrong with the car, just that it didn't make money for GM or the public wasn't thrilled about the EDSEL or many of Pontiac's models (they don't even make The Pontiac anymore, do they?).

1:43PM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

No worries, Dee! Taken off the market ~ or ~ removed from the market would mean the vaccines were defective.
Either way, as vaccines are frequently refined, these two are no longer available.

But I still can't believe that some bloody idiot anti-vaxxer actual went on a bull's run because a package insert from ..whatever...2005?...listed autism as a possible side effect and freaked because the inserts are no longer available.
Guess the doolally hadn't heard about the Quackfield debacle or that the vaccines are discontinued anyway.

11:52AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Dee T .... Why are you, apparently, still arguing with what Barbara D said (in your latest post) ?? If you "misworded" your original post, why not just leave it at that ?? To remind you what has been said previously ..........

3:51PM PDT on Jul 20, "They were Tripedia (on the market from 1992-2011) and Trihibit (on the market from 1996-2011). They were both taken off the market in 2011." (Dee T)

5:15AM PDT on Jul 21 "Dee, both Sanofi vaccines were discontinued in order to market improved formulations; they were not removed from the market." (Barbara D)

7:38AM PDT "Barbara D. Thank you for your comments. But the CDC listed the 2 vaccines I am referring to as discontinued." (Dee T)

7:38AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Barbara D.

Thank you for your comments. But the CDC listed the 2 vaccines I am referring to as discontinued. Why they were I don't exactly know- see this link.
Also, the place I worked for used to give these, so I do know they were discontinued.

10:52AM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

%$##((*&^% %#@&&%$#@ I swear this is the Curse of Darlene!!!!

I'll re-type the rest later ~ and remember to copy every single time, just in case, before posting!!!!!!!

10:21AM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

LOL! This was the first I've seen ~ and with a two-page information sheet I can't imagine how anyone could claim the pharmaceutical houses are hiding information.

Yes, the list of potential side effects is very impressive if you don't take into account how many people actually have any side effects. Or that in the interest of full disclosure even anecdotal complaints have to be recorded. So, if John Citizen stubs his toe it becomes *possible neurological complications. In actuality, the side effects of our common medications occur in

4:14AM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

Barbara, I've seen such "ads" in many magazines in my doctors' offices. They usually carry such things as Golf Digest, which I never pick up, or Better Homes & Gardens or Sunset and usually health-related stuff. I've seen ads in People and US as well.

Last night, there was one on TV for a new medication for something "female" related, and I don't remember what for, but it was a woman doing the talking and a woman depicted in the "ad", and the list of side-effects was staggering. I had to almost ask who would have been left. Whatever it was supposedly helped mobility and stiffness, etc., but with all the possible side-effects, I think I'd rather live out my days in a rocking chair.

Now, these "ads" were for prescription drugs, not vaccines, but still?????

9:48AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

Rob, HaHaHa! No I don't think the vaccine is causing this. It only happens on threads that I post nasty retorts......oops, that's all of them! LOLOL!!

9:45AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

Blessedly, we haven't been bombarded with one for awhile! It always puzzled me that I'd never seen any of this plethora of deceptive advertising from pharmaceutical houses pushing defective vaccines, but Monday, in my physician's waiting room, I found one craftily hidden in the pages of an outdated National Geographic.
The glossy first page was indeed an advert ~ followed by a Patient Information Sheet. There I found: risks, benefits, effectiveness, possible vaccine interactions, who should/shouldn't take the jab, side effects ~ common to long-term and risk percentage, a list of resources from phone numbers to websites including the CDC, WHO and NIH, and lastly a listing of all ingredients in the vaccine (no mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, or diseased animals parts!).
I was outraged!! Why do these companies think they can hide information from us so that they can make trillion dollar profits?????

8:58AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

Looks at Barbara judgmentally!!! Did you give your computer a vaccination young lady???!!!!

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