IOM: Few Health Issues Caused By Vaccines

Report should alleviate parental fears regarding vaccination of their children

FRIDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Few health issues or illnesses appear to be associated with or caused by vaccines, according to a new report published online August 25 from the Institute of Medicine(IOM).

The IOM organized a group of experts to review the scientific literature regarding potential adverse effects of eight vaccines. The committee found evidence on 14 health outcomes associated with certain vaccines including seizures and encephalitis, despite these rarely occurring. The group also found additional evidence that was not as clear linking specific vaccines and four other effects including allergic reactions and temporary joint pain.

However, the data revealed no associations between vaccines and serious adverse effects such as type 1 diabetes and autism. In addition, no links were found between the influenza vaccine and Bell's palsy or exacerbation of asthma. Despite the committee finding little association between serious adverse events and vaccines, suggestions that vaccines can lead to serious health problems have lead to parental concerns about immunization of their children.

"With the start of the new school year, it's time to ensure that children are up to date on their immunizations, making this report's findings about the safety of these eight vaccines particularly timely," committee chair Ellen Wright Clayton, professor of pediatrics and law, and director, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, said in a statement. "The findings should be reassuring to parents that few health problems are clearly connected to immunizations, and these effects occur relatively rarely. And repeated study has made clear that some health problems are not caused by vaccines."

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