I am passionate about science and think that everyone who can get vaccinated should do so
This board deals with concerns about safety and possible side effects of vaccinations
In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a British former gastroenterologist and medical researcher, published a research paper in The Lancet claiming a link between the administration of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the appearance of autism and bowel disease. In 2010 Wakefield was struck off the UK medical register after a tribunal of the GMC found three dozen charges proved, including dishonesty and abuse of developmentally challenged children. In 2011, another report revealed original raw data indicating that, contrary to Wakefield's claims, children in his research did not have inflammatory bowel disease - Wikipedia
Wakefield's studies lead to a decrease in vaccination rates in the UK and U.S. for MMR and the myth about a link between the MMR vaccine and autism still lingers.
Is there any scientifically proven link between vaccines and autism? The MMR Hypothesis around the Wakefield studies was followed by the Thimerosal Hypothesis based on the mercury-containing antimicrobial agent thimerosal used in some non-live vaccines. There were claims that mercury can cause autism, but there is little scientific evidence for a link between thimerosal and any neurodevelopmental disorder (see research paper on thimerosal. Other hypotheses claim a connection between autism and the number of administered vaccines or aluminium, respectively, but there is no scientific evidence for these claims.
But do vaccines have any other side effects? Vaccines, like any medicine, can cause side effects. However, the risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small (HHS.gov). Most side effects are minor (e.g. a sore arm or low-grade fever) and disappear within a few days. Some other side effects associated with vaccines include tenderness, itching, redness, bruising, cold-like symptoms.
Is it then safe to receive vaccinations? Vaccines, like any medication, are continually monitored for safety. The decision not to immunise a child also involves risk and could put the child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease (HHS.gov).
Abstract: It has been suggested that vaccination, particularly with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, may be related to the development of autism. The main evidence for a possible association is that the prevalence of autism has been increasing at the same time that infant vaccination coverage has increased, and that in some cases there is an apparent temporal association in which autistic characteristics are first noted shortly after vaccination. Although the prevalence of autism and similar disorders appears to have increased recently, it is not clear if this is an actual increase or the result of increased recognition and changes in diagnostic criteria. The apparent onset of autism in close proximity to vaccination may be a coincidental temporal association. The clinical evidence in support of an association derives from a series of 12 patients with inflammatory bowel conditions and regressive developmental disorders, mostly autism. The possibility that measles vaccine may cause autism through a persistent bowel infection has generated much interest, since it provides a possible biological mechanism. Epidemiological studies, however, have not found an association between MMR vaccination and autism. The epidemiological findings are consistent with current understanding of the pathogenesis of autism, which has a strong genetic component and in which the neurological defects probably occur early in embryonic development. It seems unlikely that a vaccination that is given after birth could cause autism. A minority of cases of autism may have onset after 1 year of age (regressive autism), but the single epidemiological study that included such cases did not find an association with MMR vaccination. Currently, the weight of the available epidemiological and related evidence does not support a causal association between MMR vaccine, or any other vaccine or vaccine constituent, and autism.
Pub.: 14 Sep '12, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: To discuss information surrounding the erroneous association between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and to provide pharmacists with information to dispel vaccine myths.Pharmaceutical and medical literature and public media (e.g., newspapers).The diagnosis of ASDs is on the rise, and many speculations have been made as to the cause, including the MMR vaccine. A small case series article published in The Lancet in 1998 and later retracted has been the center of the controversy over whether the MMR vaccine causes ASDs. New definitive research demonstrates no link, and medical organizations state that evidence does not support a link between the MMR vaccine and ASDs.Pharmacists can play a role in providing up-do-date information to patients to dispel myths concerning vaccine safety. Accurate peer review remains an important step to ensure correct information is given to health care providers and the public.
Pub.: 12 Dec '12, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: A significant number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder suffer a loss of previously-acquired skills, suggesting neurodegeneration or a type of progressive encephalopathy with an etiological basis occurring after birth. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectof the age at which children got their first Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine on autism incidence. This is a reanalysis of the data set, obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), used for the Destefano et al. 2004 publication on the timing of the first MMR vaccine and autism diagnoses.The author embarked on the present study to evaluate whether a relationship exists between child age when the first MMR vaccine was administered among cases diagnosed with autism and controls born between 1986 through 1993 among school children in metropolitan Atlanta. The Pearson's chi-squared method was used to assess relative risks of receiving an autism diagnosis within the total cohort as well as among different race and gender categories.When comparing cases and controls receiving their first MMR vaccine before and after 36 months of age, there was a statistically significant increase in autism cases specifically among African American males who received the first MMR prior to 36 months of age. Relative risks for males in general and African American males were 1.69 (p=0.0138) and 3.36 (p=0.0019), respectively. Additionally, African American males showed an odds ratio of 1.73 (p=0.0200) for autism cases in children receiving their first MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age versus 24 months of age and thereafter.The present study provides new epidemiologic evidence showing that African American males receiving the MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age or 36 months of age are more likely to receive an autism diagnosis.
Pub.: 13 Aug '14, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Despite research showing no link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), beliefs that the vaccine causes autism persist, leading to lower vaccination levels. Parents who already have a child with ASD may be especially wary of vaccinations.To report ASD occurrence by MMR vaccine status in a large sample of US children who have older siblings with and without ASD.A retrospective cohort study using an administrative claims database associated with a large commercial health plan. Participants included children continuously enrolled in the health plan from birth to at least 5 years of age during 2001-2012 who also had an older sibling continuously enrolled for at least 6 months between 1997 and 2012.MMR vaccine receipt (0, 1, 2 doses) between birth and 5 years of age.ASD status defined as 2 claims with a diagnosis code in any position for autistic disorder or other specified pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) including Asperger syndrome, or unspecified PDD (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification 299.0x, 299.8x, 299.9x).Of 95,727 children with older siblings, 994 (1.04%) were diagnosed with ASD and 1929 (2.01%) had an older sibling with ASD. Of those with older siblings with ASD, 134 (6.9%) had ASD, vs 860 (0.9%) children with unaffected siblings (P < .001). MMR vaccination rates (≥1 dose) were 84% (n = 78,564) at age 2 years and 92% (n = 86,063) at age 5 years for children with unaffected older siblings, vs 73% (n = 1409) at age 2 years and 86% (n = 1660) at age 5 years for children with affected siblings. MMR vaccine receipt was not associated with an increased risk of ASD at any age. For children with older siblings with ASD, at age 2, the adjusted relative risk (RR) of ASD for 1 dose of MMR vaccine vs no vaccine was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.49-1.18; P = .22), and at age 5, the RR of ASD for 2 doses compared with no vaccine was 0.56 (95% CI, 0.31-1.01; P = .052). For children whose older siblings did not have ASD, at age 2, the adjusted RR of ASD for 1 dose was 0.91 (95% CI, 0.67-1.20; P = .50) and at age 5, the RR of ASD for 2 doses was 1.12 (95% CI, 0.78-1.59; P = .55).In this large sample of privately insured children with older siblings, receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD, regardless of whether older siblings had ASD. These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD.
Pub.: 22 Apr '15, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: The paper describes the results of preclinical testing of the preparation 'Vaccine allantoic split-virus inactivated against seasonal influenza'. Acute toxicity and local irritating effect, anaphylactic reactions to different antigens (vaccine and ovalbumin), delayed-type hypersensitivity to ram erythrocytes, humoral immune response in hemaggtination reaction, immunogenic activity was studied in laboratory animals of various species (mice, rats, guinea pigs). Comparative analysis of the results from testing immunogenic activity of the preparation under study and the commercial influenza vaccines was performed. The preclinical testing has demonstrated safety and immune response of the seasonal split influenza vaccine, so it may be recommended for clinical study on limited contingent of volunteers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Pub.: 06 Feb '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: In 2013 the Institute of Medicine suggested that the Vaccine Safety DataLink (VSD) should broaden its population by including data of more patients from low income and racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. In response, Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO) partnered with Denver Health (DH), an integrated safety net health care system, to explore the integration of DH data.We compared three different methods (reference date of September 1, 2013): "Empanelment" (any patient who has had a primary care visit in the past 18months), "Proxy-enrollment" (two health care visits in 3years separated by 90days), and "Enrollment" in a managed care plan. For each of these methods, we compared cohort size, vaccination rates, socio-demographic characteristics, and health care utilization.The empaneled population at DH provided the best comparison to KPCO. DH's empaneled population was 111,330 (57,173 adults; 54,157 children), while KPCO had 436,290 empaneled patients (336,462 adults; 99,828 children). Vaccination rates in both health care systems for empaneled patients were comparable. Two year-old up-to-date coverage rates were 83.2% (KPCO) and 86.9% (DH); rates for adolescent Tdap and MCV4 were 85.5% (KPCO) and 90.6% (DH). There were significant differences in the two populations in age, gender, race, preferred language, and % Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (DH 70.7%<100% FPL; KPCO 17.4%), as well as in healthcare utilization - for example pediatric emergency department utilization was twice as high at DH.Using a cohort of "empaneled" patients, it is possible to integrate data from a safety net health care system that does not have a uniform managed care population into the VSD, and to compare vaccination rates, socio-demographic characteristics, and health care utilization across the two systems. The KPCO-DH collaboration may serve as a model for incorporating data from a safety net healthcare system into the VSD.
Pub.: 06 Feb '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Seven to ten days after a first dose of a measles-containing vaccine (MCV; i.e., MMR or MMRV), children have elevated fever risk which can be associated with febrile seizures. This study investigated individual and familial factors associated with fever 7-10days after MCV.Retrospective cohort study among children who were <36months of age at receipt of MCV in six sites of the Vaccine Safety Datalink from 1/1/2000 to 12/31/2012. We evaluated medically-attended clinic or emergency department visits with a code for fever 7-10days after any MCV ("MCV- associated"). We evaluated factors associated with MCV-associated fever using χ(2) and multivariable logistic regression analyses.Among 946,806 children vaccinated with MCV, we identified 7480 (0.8%) MCV-associated fever visits. Compared with children without fever after MCV, children with MCV-associated fever were more likely to have received MMRV than MMR (OR 1.3 95% CI 1.2, 1.5), have had medically attended fever both following previous vaccines (OR 1.3 95% CI 1.1, 1.6) and at any other previous time (OR 1.7 95% CI 1.6, 1.8), have had at least 1 prior seizure (OR 2.2 95% CI 1.7, 2.7), and have had >3 medical visits within the 6months before MCV (OR 1.7 95% CI 1.6, 1.8). In families with multiple MCV-immunized children, after adjusting for healthcare seeking behavior care for fever, those whose siblings had MCV-associated fever were more likely to also have MCV-associated fever (OR 3.5 95% CI 2.5, 4.8).Children who received MMRV vaccine or who had prior medically-attended fevers and seizures during the first year of life had increased risk of fever after a first dose of measles vaccine. After adjusting for familial propensity to seek care, MCV-associated fever still clustered within families, suggesting a possible genetic basis for susceptibility to developing fever due to measles vaccines.
Pub.: 25 Feb '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Thimerosal is an organic-mercury (Hg)-containing compound (49.55% Hg by weight) historically added to many multi-dose vials of vaccine as a preservative and still added to some vaccines today. Concerns about the toxic effects from Thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and the risk of an atypical autism diagnosis were evaluated in this study.
Pub.: 09 Mar '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Limited data are available describing the post-licensure safety of meningococcal vaccines, including Menveo®. We reviewed reports of adverse events (AEs) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to assess safety in all age groups.VAERS is a national spontaneous vaccine safety surveillance system co-administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration. We searched the VAERS database for US reports of adverse events in persons who received Menveo from 1 January 2010 through 31 December 2015. We clinically reviewed reports and available medical records for serious AEs, selected pre-specified outcomes, and vaccination during pregnancy. We used empirical Bayesian data mining to identify AEs that were disproportionately reported after receipt of Menveo.During the study period, VAERS received 2614 US reports after receipt of Menveo. Of these, 67 were classified as serious, including 1 report of death. Adolescents (aged 11-18years) accounted for 74% of reports. Most of the reported AEs were non-serious and described AEs consistent with data from pre-licensure studies. Anaphylaxis and syncope were the two most common events in the serious reports. We did not identify any new safety concerns after review of AEs that exceeded the data mining threshold, although we did observe disproportionate reporting for terms that were not associated with an adverse event (e.g., "incorrect drug dosage form administered", "wrong technique in drug usage process"). Although reports were limited, we did not find any evidence for concern regarding the use of Menveo during pregnancy.In our review of VAERS reports, findings of AEs were consistent with the data from pre-licensure studies. Vaccine providers should continue to emphasize and adhere to proper administration of the vaccine.
Pub.: 07 Mar '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: To address public concern about the safety of the childhood immunization schedule, the Institute of Medicine recommended observational studies comparing adverse health outcomes of fully vaccinated children to children under-vaccinated due to parental choice. Misclassification of vaccination status could bias such studies.To assess risk of misclassification of vaccination status within the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD).A retrospective cohort study was conducted in three phases. In phase 1, electronic health record (EHR) data were used to identify patterns of under-vaccination during the first 24months of life potentially due to parental choice. In phase 2, a random sample of records of under-vaccinated children was manually reviewed. In phase 3, a separate sample of parents were surveyed to assess whether EHR data accurately reflected their child's vaccination status. Phases 1 and 2 were conducted at 6 VSD sites, phase 3 at 1 site.The study cohort included 361,901 children born 2004 through 2012. By 24months of age, 198,249 (54.8%) were fully vaccinated with no delays, 84,698 (23.4%) experienced delays but were fully vaccinated by 24months of age, 4865 (1.3%) received no vaccines, 3789 (1.0%) delayed starting vaccination until ≥4months of age, 4781 (1.3%) had consistent vaccine-limiting (≤2 vaccines per visit), and the remaining 65,519 (18.1%) were missing vaccine series or doses. When a diagnosis code for vaccine refusal was present in EHR data, encounter notes confirmed vaccine refusal as the reason for under-vaccination for nearly 100% of sampled records. Parent surveys confirmed these findings. Parents of under-vaccinated children were more likely to report visiting an alternative medical provider than parents of fully vaccinated children.Specific groups of children, under-vaccinated due to parental choice, can be identified with relatively low likelihood of misclassification of vaccination status using EHR-based vaccine data and diagnosis codes.
Pub.: 14 Mar '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: We assessed sex-specific trends within passive vaccine safety surveillance in Ontario, Canada. AEFIs reported following vaccines administered between 2012 and 2015 were included. There were 2466 AEFI reports; 66.2% were female. Annualized reporting rates were 5.9 and 3.1 per 100,000 population, for females and males respectively. The female:male reporting rate ratio (RRR) was 1.9. Sex-specific differences by age group were greatest in adults 18–64 years (RRR 6.3); whereas there were no differences in children <10 years. Vaccine-specific RRRs were highest for vaccines recommended for routine use in adults or high risk populations. All event categories were female-predominant. The highest event-specific RRRs were for oculorespiratory syndrome (5.1), anaesthesia/paraesthesia (4.6) and anaphylaxis (3.0). Serious AEFIs (n = 113) were more evenly distributed (57.5% female, RRR 1.3) than non-serious (66.6% female, RRR 1.9). AEFI reporting among females was consistently elevated within the passive surveillance system in Ontario. Further study of the relationship between sex/gender and AEFI reporting is needed.
Pub.: 29 Mar '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is the spontaneous (passive) reporting system CDC and FDA use to monitor vaccine safety. We used cognitive testing to evaluate proposed revisions to the current VAERS form.We conducted in-person cognitive interviews with 22 volunteers to evaluate proposed revisions in a prototype VAERS 2.0 form (new VAERS form). We analyzed data using thematic analysis.Repeating themes included preferences for: brevity, simplicity and clarity; features to minimize time requirements and facilitate ease of completion; logical ordering of questions by topic and importance; and visual cues like color-coded highlighting. Interviews identified instances of discordance between the intended meaning questions (from the perspective of CDC and FDA) and interpretation by volunteers.Cognitive testing yielded useful information to guide further revisions of the VAERS form. Cognitive testing can be an effective tool for public health programs interested in developing surveys and reporting forms.
Pub.: 30 Mar '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) might increase the risk of wheezing in persons with asthma or children younger than 5 years with a history of recurrent wheezing.To describe the use and assess the safety of LAIV in persons with asthma in the Vaccine Safety Datalink population.We identified persons with asthma using diagnosis codes and medication records in 7 health care organizations over 3 influenza seasons (2008-2009 through 2010-2011) and determined their influenza vaccination rates. Using the self-controlled risk interval method, we calculated the incidence rate ratio of medically attended respiratory events in the 14 days after LAIV compared with 29 to 42 days after vaccination in persons 2 through 49 years old.In our population of 6.3 million, asthma prevalence was 5.9%. Of persons with asthma, approximately 50% received any influenza vaccine but less than 1% received LAIV. The safety study included 12,354 LAIV doses (75% in children; 93% in those with intermittent or mild persistent asthma). The incidence rate ratio for inpatient and emergency department visits for lower respiratory events (including asthma exacerbation and wheezing) was 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.63-1.51) and the incidence rate ratio for upper respiratory events was 0.94 (95% confidence interval 0.48-1.86). The risk of lower respiratory events was similar for intermittent and mild persistent asthma, across age groups, and for seasonal trivalent LAIV and 2009 H1N1 pandemic monovalent LAIV.LAIV use in asthma was mostly in persons with intermittent or mild persistent asthma. LAIV was not associated with an increased risk of medically attended respiratory adverse events.
Pub.: 10 Apr '17, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Conflicts of interest (COIs) cloud vaccine safety research. Sponsors of research have competing interests that may impede the objective study of vaccine side effects. Vaccine manufacturers, health officials, and medical journals may have financial and bureaucratic reasons for not wanting to acknowledge the risks of vaccines. Conversely, some advocacy groups may have legislative and financial reasons to sponsor research that finds risks in vaccines. Using the vaccine-autism debate as an illustration, this article details the conflicts of interest each of these groups faces, outlines the current state of vaccine safety research, and suggests remedies to address COIs. Minimizing COIs in vaccine safety research could reduce research bias and restore greater trust in the vaccine program.
Pub.: 02 Mar '12, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Vaccines are different from most medicines in that they are administered to large and mostly healthy populations including infants and children, so there is a low tolerance for potential risks or side-effects. In addition, the long-term benefits of immunisation in reducing or eliminating infectious diseases may induce complacency due to the absence of cases. However, as demonstrated in recent measles outbreaks in Europe and United States, reappearance of the disease occurs as soon as vaccine coverage falls. Unfounded vaccine scares such as those associating the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine with autism, and whole-cell pertussis vaccines with encephalopathy, can also have massive impacts, resulting in reduced vaccine uptake and disease resurgence. The safety assessment of vaccines is exhaustive and continuous; beginning with non-clinical evaluation of their individual components in terms of purity, stability and sterility, continuing throughout the clinical development phase and entire duration of use of the vaccine; including post-approval. The breadth and depth of safety assessments conducted at multiple levels by a range of independent organizations increases confidence in the rigour with which any potential risks or side-effects are investigated and managed. Industry, regulatory agencies, academia, the medical community and the general public all play a role in monitoring vaccine safety. Within these stakeholder groups, the healthcare professional and vaccine provider have key roles in the prevention, identification, investigation and management of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). Guidelines and algorithms aid in determining whether AEFI may have been caused by the vaccine, or whether it is coincidental to it. Healthcare providers are encouraged to rigorously investigate AEFIs and to report them via local reporting processes. The ultimate objective for all parties is to ensure vaccines have a favourable benefit-risk profile.
Pub.: 12 Nov '16, Pinned: 13 Apr '17
Abstract: Controversy surrounding an autism-vaccine link has elicited considerable news media attention. Despite being widely discredited, research suggests that journalists report this controversy by presenting claims both for and against a link in a relatively 'balanced' fashion. To investigate how this reporting style influences judgments of vaccine risk, we randomly assigned 320 undergraduate participants to read a news article presenting either claims both for/against an autism-vaccine link, link claims only, no-link claims only or non-health-related information. Participants who read the balanced article were less certain that vaccines are safe, more likely to believe experts were less certain that vaccines are safe and less likely to have their future children vaccinated. Results suggest that balancing conflicting views of the autism-vaccine controversy may lead readers to erroneously infer the state of expert knowledge regarding vaccine safety and negatively impact vaccine intentions.
Pub.: 30 Nov '12, Pinned: 13 Apr '17