In recent years, vaccines have been blamed as the cause of autism, Type 1 diabetes and other illnesses and conditions. A new report from the National Academy of Sciences‘ Institute of Medicine has found that “few health problems” are caused by vaccines. According to a press release, an IOM committee reviewed over 1,000 research studies about possible adverse effects from a number of vaccines including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), which was linked to autism by now-discredited research.
The 667-page report did find “convincing evidence” that, in rare causes, certain vaccines can causes 14 health outcomes including seizures, inflammation of the brain and fainting. Evidence linking vaccines to effects including allergic reactions and joint pain was “less clear.” “No links” between serious conditions including autism and vaccines were found and the flu shot, says the report, does not causes Bell’s palsy or worsen asthma.
The report takes pains to spell out the possible effects of certain vaccines in some but hardly most cases (my emphases in italics):
Convincing evidence shows that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine can lead to fever-triggered seizures in some individuals, although these effects are almost always without long-term consequences, the report says. The MMR vaccine also can produce a rare form of brain inflammation in some people with severe immune system deficiencies. In a minority of patients, the varicella vaccine against chickenpox can induce brain swelling, pneumonia, hepatitis, meningitis, shingles, and chickenpox in immunocompromised patients as well as some who apparently have competent immune function, the committee found. The majority of these problems have occurred in individuals with immunodeficiencies, which increase individuals’ susceptibility to the live viruses used in MMR and varicella. Six vaccines — MMR, varicella, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, and the tetanus-containing vaccines — can trigger anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that appears shortly after injection. And, in general, the injection of vaccines can trigger fainting and inflammation of the shoulder, the committee noted.
The evidence suggests that certain vaccines can lead to four other adverse effects, although the data on these links are not as convincing, the report says. The MMR vaccine appears to trigger short-term joint pain in some women and children. Some people can experience anaphylaxis after receiving the HPV vaccine. And certain influenza vaccines used abroad have resulted in a mild, temporary oculo-respiratory syndrome characterized by conjunctivitis, facial swelling, and mild respiratory symptoms.
Those who contend that vaccines or something in vaccines cause health problems, including Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center are, not surprisingly, critical of the report. In the Washington Post, Fisher made a familiar call for “more and higher quality vaccine safety science” to provide more evidence that vaccines are not connected to autism, lupus and other conditions.
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