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Environment

Vaccines Linked To Few Health Problems

by David J. Hanson
September 5, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 36

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IOM finds that health problems from vaccines are rare.
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Credit: Shutterstock
IOM finds that health problems from vaccines are rare.

A literature review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that very few health problems can be clearly associated with vaccines. A committee of experts found “convincing evidence” of 14 types of adverse health outcomes from eight vaccines but found no link between immunizations and serious conditions of concern, including type 1 diabetes and autism. There is also no scientific evidence that the flu shot causes Bell’s palsy or asthma. The review found evidence that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine can cause fever-triggered seizures in some individuals and brain inflammation in some people with severe immune system deficiencies. The varicella vaccine against chicken pox can also impact immunocompromised individuals. The IOM review was done at the request of the Department of Health & Human Services, which administers the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The IOM study is expected to be useful to all stakeholders in vaccine compensation decisions.

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