Review Says Vaccines For Children Are Safe

Review Says Vaccines For Children Are Safe

Many parents are suspicious about the health safety of vaccines for their children. A new review commissioned by the federal government found that vaccines administered in the early years of a child’s life are indeed safe.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, the review commissioned by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US Department of Health and Human Services to RAND Corporation of California also found that adverse side effects to these vaccines sometimes do occur, but they are rare. Such rare effects include intestinal blockage caused by the rotavirus vaccines, and thrombocytopenic purpura, a blood disorder linked with the chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Rotavirus is a common cause of dehydration and severe diarrhea in children. According to the review, RotaTeq and Rotarix, the vaccines used to fight the illness added one to five cases of blocked intestines (where part of the intestine telescopes into itself) for every 1000,000 doses.

The MMR vaccine is no stranger to controversy. Top virologist who worked for Merck filed a False Claims document to the government, whistle-blowing that that company would fabricate lab results to show that its mumps vaccine had a 95% efficacy rate in order to receive government contracts on a vaccine that didn’t work.

The review found that vaccines to fight MMR, and flu shots given to children have also been linked with an increased risk of fever-related seizures.

The research found no evidence that vaccines are linked to the development of autism or leukemia. Many parents who are anti-vaccine commonly believe that vaccination could cause these diseases. Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study in 1998 that suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. However, the British medical journal, The Lancet” retracted Dr. Wakefield’s paper after finding the doctor was being paid by parents who feared their children were infected after receiving the vaccine. Further research has not been able to reproduce the same conclusion of Dr. Wakefield’s unethical study.

“Concerns about vaccine safety have led some parents to decline recommended vaccination of their children, leading to the resurgence of diseases,” RAND’s review authors wrote in their report.

On the contrary, many vaccinated children do develop allergies, autoimmune disorders, and behavioral disorders as compared to unvaccinated children, such as certain populations of the Amish, who overall have lower autism rates. Approximately 1 in 271 children in the Amish community develop a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. Despite common beliefs, some Amish parents do vaccinate their children.

According to a survey published online at in 2010, unvaccinated children were affected less by common diseases such as asthma, autism, and ADHD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 539 people in 20 states were infected with measles this year. While many diseases that are preventable by vaccines are becoming more prevalent, many of these cases are developing within communities with low vaccination rates.

“This report should give parents some reassurance,” Courtney Gidengil, pediatrician of RAND and Boston Children’s Hospital, and co-author of the study said.

The CDC reported that over the past two decades, vaccines given to infants and young children will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths.

Researchers at RAND included 67 studies in their review, drawing data from PubMed, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices statements, the 2011 Institute of Medicine consensus report on vaccine safety, and other sources. The authors did note that the severity of adverse side effects was inconsistently reported and the majority of the studies did investigate or even identify risk factors to these events.

While vaccines do prevent diseases, they also contain harmful chemicals such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, and MSG.