In yet another setback for Jenny McCarthy and her angry mob, the Institute of Medicine reports that vaccines are very safe, that they prevent diseases, and that they don’t cause autism or diabetes.
The IOM’s conclusion, which is based on 1,000 published studies, will help the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to administer the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The 800-page report covers the eight vaccines that comprise the majority of claims filed in “vaccine court”, which compensates people for alleged injuries from any of 11 vaccines.
The eight vaccines under review were for chickenpox; influenza; hepatitis B; human papillomavirus; diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP); measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); hepatitis A; and meningococcal disease.
The news has received major media coverage. Noticeably absent is the false balance that too often derails science reporting.
“Report: Vaccines generally safe, some side effects” Associated Press – “Vaccines can cause certain side effects but serious ones appear very rare — and there’s no link with autism and Type 1 diabetes, the Institute of Medicine says in the first comprehensive safety review in 17 years. The report released Thursday isn’t aimed at nervous parents. And the side effects it lists as proven are some that doctors long have known about, such as fever-caused seizures and occasional brain inflammation. Instead, the review comes at the request of the government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which as the name implies, pays damages to people who are injured by vaccines. Federal law requires this type of independent review as officials update side effects on that list to be sure they agree with the latest science. “Vaccines are important tools in preventing serious infectious disease across the lifespan, from infancy through adulthood. All health care interventions, however, carry the possibility of risk and vaccines are no exception,” said pediatrician and bioethicist Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton of Vanderbilt University, who chaired the institute panel. Still, the report stresses that vaccines generally are safe, and it may help doctors address worries from a small but vocal anti-vaccine movement. Some vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, are on the rise.”
“Vaccine Safety: New Report Finds Few Adverse Events Linked to Immunizations” TIME – “In a new report investigating adverse events caused by vaccines, a panel of experts says there are relatively few health problems caused by the most commonly recommended immunizations, which public health experts advise that all children receive. The conclusions, issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its latest report, “Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality,” represent the most comprehensive review of the available literature on the potential side effects of eight vaccines — for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR); chicken pox; influenza; hepatitis A; hepatitis B; human papillomavirus (HPV); diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTAP); and meningococcus… Of note, they conclude that there is no evidence to support a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, as many parent groups continue to believe, spurred on by the claims of British physician Andrew Wakefield, who lost his medical license last year when his findings were found to be fraudulent. The committee’s report joins many other past studies that have come to the same conclusion that vaccines and autism are not related.”
“Vaccines are generally safe, National Academy of Sciences say” Washington Post – “Some vaccines can cause seizures, brain inflammation and other complications, but those side effects appear to be rare and there is no link between immunizations and autism or other serious medical problems, the National Academy of Sciences has concluded. In the first comprehensive review in 17 years of the scientific evidence about the safety of vaccines, a committee formed by the academy’s Institute of Medicine analyzed more than 1,000 research studies to examine persistent questions about the safety of vaccines. In the 667-page report released Thursday, the 16-member committee found convincing evidence that vaccines could cause 14 health problems, including seizures, brain inflammation and fainting, but that those complications appeared to be very uncommon. The committee also concluded there was evidence that some vaccines could cause other complications, such as allergic reactions and temporary joint pain. But the committee found that there was no link between being immunized and the most serious health problems that have raised concern, including autism and Type 1 diabetes.”
“Vaccines largely safe, U.S. expert panel finds” Reuters – “After a close review of more than 1,000 research studies, a federal panel of experts has concluded that vaccines cause very few side effects, and found no evidence that vaccines cause autism or type 1 diabetes. The report, issued on Thursday by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academies of Sciences, is the first comprehensive report on vaccine side effects since 1994. Fears that vaccines might cause autism or other health problems have led some parents to skip vaccinating their children, despite repeated reassurances from health authorities. The concerns have also forced costly reformulations of many vaccines. “We looked at more than 1,000 articles evaluating the epidemiological and biological evidence about whether vaccines cause side effects,” said committee chair Ellen Wright Clayton, professor of pediatrics and law, and director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “The big take-home message is that we found only a few cases in which vaccines can cause adverse side effects, and the vast majority of those are short-term and self-limiting,” she said in a telephone interview.”
“Vaccine-safety report should reassure doctors and parents, experts say” Los Angeles Times – “Vaccines rarely cause serious side effects, health officials say. When problems do arise, they most often occur in people with preexisting immune system disorders. The report, issued Thursday by an independent panel of medical experts convened by the Institute of Medicine — which provides independent, science-based analyses — should be used to help administer claims through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. That program was established in 1986 to provide financial compensation to people who were harmed by eight recommended vaccines. Vaccine safety is a highly charged issue. Fears that vaccines can cause various side effects have led to a decline in childhood immunization rates in recent years and a re-emergence of preventable infectious diseases such as pertussis and measles. “The utility of this report is enormous,” said Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton, the committee chairwoman and director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University. “Claimants and the government and the vaccine court will now have available to them the best analysis that has ever been done about the potential adverse events caused by these vaccines.””
“Report: Vaccines Are Safe, Hazards Few and Far Between” NPR – “Vaccines do come with risks for trouble, but problems are generally rare, according to a new review of the evidence from the Institute of Medicine. The independent panel considered adverse effects from eight common childhood vaccines, and found that in many cases there wasn’t enough evidence to if say there was a problem. But the committee came out loud and clear on the controversial question which drove the report. Do vaccines — such as the one against measles, mumps and rubella — cause autism? Nope. “The MMR vaccine does not cause autism,” Ellen Clayton, a pediatrician who chaired the panel, said in a media briefing Thursday. “The MMR and the DTaP do not cause Type 1 diabetes. And the killed flu vaccine does not cause Bell’s palsy, and it does not trigger episodes of asthma.” The group found convincing evidence for 14 health problems, including seizures and brain inflammation, and identified the vaccines that are linked to those problems. The panel of experts looked at both studies of whole populations, and individual case reports of adverse events.”
“Report Finds Few Side Effects for Vaccines” Forbes – “Only a small number of manageable side effects can be conclusively linked to routine childhood vaccinations, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit chartered by Congress forty years ago to give advice about scientific controversies. “The reassuring message of this report is we’ve looked very hard at the scientific evidence for adverse effects, and we found very few things, and the majority of things that we found tend to be very short lived and easy to deal with,” says Ellen Wright Clayton, director of the Center for Bioethics and Society at Vanderbilt Uversity and the IOM committee’s chairperson. “That’s amazing news.” The IOM’s full 667-page report can be viewed on its Web site. The 18-person committee examined 158 different potential adverse events for 8 different vaccines types, including common childhood immunizations against measles, mumps and rubella (the MMR vaccine) and pertusis (the DTaP vaccine) and newer shots like Merck‘s Gardasil and Pfizer‘s Prevnar.”
“Study: Some vaccines cause medical problems in rare cases” Seattle Times – “A high-powered scientific committee that examined the possible connection between vaccines and health problems found convincing evidence that some vaccines can cause rare adverse events in certain people, including seizures, brain inflammation and fainting. The committee also found the evidence doesn’t support any connection between autism and the MMR vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (German measles). In most cases, the committee said, there was insufficient evidence to reach any conclusion about connections between vaccines and dozens of other serious conditions. The 647-page report, “Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality,” was released Thursday. The committee analyzed more than 1,000 research reports to reach its conclusion that 14 medical conditions can be linked to vaccines in rare cases. It noted that many of these conditions are very unusual in the general population and most often occur without being preceded by vaccination.”
“Report Finds Few Health Problems Tied to Vaccines” Wall Street Journal Health Blog – “Certain vaccines have been linked to rare health problems, but in general, immunizations don’t carry many side effects, an analysis of more than 1,000 studies finds. The report is by the Institute of Medicine, an independent federal advisory group. A committee including pediatricians, epidemiologists and experts in certain diseases was charged with evaluating the potential harms of vaccination, not assessing how any risks stacked up against the benefits. Still, the introduction of the report notes that the dangers of infectious disease, including death, “have greatly diminished over the past century,” in part thanks to immunization. The group says that “the evidence convincingly supports 14 specific vaccine-adverse event relationships,” including a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and fever-related seizures (which one expert previously called frightening, but benign) and the chickenpox vaccine and brain swelling and other problems.”