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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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1769 comments

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6:29AM PDT on Sep 20, 2014

@ Darlene: Still waiting on the reason why the science community seems to be able to shrug off the $$$$$ and influence from Big Oil yet seems to be owned by Big Pharma which is no way as powerful as the former

12:04PM PDT on Sep 19, 2014

Yes, Darlene we are on tether hooks awaiting your posts..

As it stands Darlene.. You have shown yourself thus far unable to handle facts, Have been shown to be intellectually dishonest so many times it makes on wonder why do you continue to bother. Even with your evident Narcissism It really does beg the question. Why do you bother.

Vaccines are still the best and safest way to assure one children are healthy and will have a childhood to enjoy.

11:43AM PDT on Sep 19, 2014

wedont really need your comments on ebola LOLOL They will make their own decisions no matter how important you think your opinion is.

7:18AM PDT on Sep 19, 2014

http://www.care2.com/news/member/827551733/3805299

Here is a petition to ask that World Leaders give aid to fight embola.

I will make comments next week. Have a great week-end everyone.

11:02AM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

Oh and Darlene thee has not been one credible scientific study that shows that vaccines have anything to do with Autism.. There is nothing there. It is a rabbit hole that leads to bunk science and wishful thinking.

10:44AM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

Darlene is every one story important.. A qualified yes.. Does a story advance the knowledge of autism. No,, It does not. First a story is just that a STORY.. Anecdotal. With out a clear study with protocols in place;. pseudo not get any where. Want to be part of a research or study is one thing.

But anecdotal stories are meaningless in advancing knowledge in ANY field. Without clear protocols. No one will have any idea of context or even how to apply the story.

That is where your problem lies Darlene. You want to throw out those protocols that guides science in advancing knowledge and declare it a free for all.

I can not possibly think of a worse idea than that. It open the door to bunk science and snake oil remedies.

10:20AM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

@ Darlene: You've written much and took a great deal of time to do so but you have not answered my question:

You state that the vaccine research is somehow controlled, biased, censored, etc when the vast majority of research and peer papers (I think it's in the 97%-98%) say it is not linked to autism, etc because of "big pharma"

Yet "Big Oil" is richer, more powerful, etc and still 97% of all research and peer reviewed work supports that burning fossil fuels by humans is leading the whole planet into peril

Why does Pharma win, why are he 10s of 1000s of researchers, virologists, etc all in with the pharmas when geologists, atmospheric, oceanographers, etc can ignore the money siren song of big oil?

8:55AM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

FESAR FEAR FEAR is all I hear Darlene. *I* am always in charge when I talk to my DR I pay him for advice. If he doesnt provide said acvicde the way I want it he gets replaced. Almost everyone I know is the same. Wiull you PLEASE stop acting like everyone is an complete moron being lead around with dead eyes by THE HORRIBLE MEIDCAL FIELD???

ALL medicine and yes even food sucjh as red yeast rice can have reactions in SOME PEOPLE. SOME……..NOT most. Are you telling me you think people are too stupid to type how do I control High Blood Pressure in their browser?

Stop trying to TEACH us anything. You are horribly unqualified and about 10 years late with your garbage. Most of us are well ahead of the curve.
YOU seem to think we are only catching up to you HAAHAAHA

7:41AM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

CONTINUED: This is also something else to consider and is what I read about the flu vaccine - to ask for the single shot especially for children and pregnant mothers as it does not contain thimerosal. I have learned that there is a lot to learn about vaccines - the more information the better.

7:40AM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

Robert is it not the result of lowering cholesterol that reduces the chance of breast cancer and prostrate cancer? There are always alternatives to reducing cholesterol that can also be used that have less adverse effects than statins. Something to consider before taking any pharmaceutical drug - is there something else I can do to achieve the same effect that does not have as many adverse effects? "Statins also carry warnings that memory loss, mental confusion, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes are possible side effects. It's important to remember that statins may also interact with other medications you take." Sorry but I am not going to take statins to prevent breast cancer - I would rather eat flax, exercise outside, yoga, meditation, - the last thing I would do is to take statins. My choice and I have made it by doing research and talking to other people who have had better success when they stopped the statins and made changes. If people want to take statins that is their choice. The same goes with vaccination - to research each and every vaccine and make a choice. I have been researching more about Dr. Wakefield and it is interesting to note that he recommended taking the single doses respectively for measles, mumps and german measles rather than the combination MMR. He also did a lot of research into the increasing stomach and bowel sensitivities that are skyrocketing into today’s world. This is also something else to consider and is what I read about the f

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