Vaccines are largely safe, and do not cause autism or diabetes, the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) said in a report issued today. This conclusion followed a review of more than 1,000 published research studies.
Says Ellen Wright Clayton, chairwoman of the reporting committee and director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee:
The message I would want parents to have is one of reassurance.
In other words, vaccines are safe.
The committee found that evidence convincingly supports a causal relationship between some vaccines and some adverse events—such as MMR, varicella zoster, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, and tetanus-containing vaccines linked to anaphylaxis ( a life-threatening type of allergic reaction).
Even so, this dangerous allergic reaction is exceedingly rare. One study places the risk of anaphylaxis at 0.65 cases/million doses, which is only a 0.000065% chance! This adverse effect is literally less than one in a million, and thus we conclude that vaccines are essentially safe.
But more importantly, evidence favors rejection of five vaccine-adverse event relationships, including MMR vaccine and autism and inactivated influenza vaccine and asthma episodes. However, for the majority of cases (135 vaccine-adverse event pairs), the evidence was inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship (meaning that they did not find evidence that could conclude that X caused Y). Overall, the committee concludes that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines.
We have the evidence. There is now no reason not to vaccinate your children. However scary it may seem, vaccines save lives, and not just your child’s life, but even children around them.
Any potential fears or (less than) 1-in-a-million effects are not worth having polio come back to paralyze our kids.