Diabetes

In 1997, a study from Finland suggested a link between Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccination and type 1 diabetes. However, subsequent reanalysis of the data did not support such a link. The conclusion that there is no causal link between any of the childhood vaccines and diabetes has also been supported by a subsequent review of the literature, and the conclusions of two workshops held in the USA in 1998. The Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health held a workshop in Baltimore, Maryland: Analyzing all available data on the pathogenesis of diabetes, autoimmunity, epidemiology, biostatistics, and adverse events following immunization, the workshop found no evidence that changing the routine childhood immunization would increase or decrease the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. A further meeting discussing the same problem of diabetes and immunization has been held in Bethesda, Maryland. The consensus was that existing studies in humans do not indicate an increase in type 1 diabetes attributable either to any vaccine or to the timing of the vaccine [8].

Influenza vaccine may cause influenza disease

Although some believe that the vaccine causes influenza, this is not possible as it is not a live virus vaccine. As some people experience adverse events such as a mild fever after the vaccine, it is understandable that they may confuse these symptoms with actually having the 'flu' [8].

Multiple sclerosis

The precise cause of MS, a presumed autoimmune disease, is unknown. There is no evidence that hepatitis B vaccine causes MS. Concerns about hepatitis B vaccination arose in France, after a few reports of a possible link between hepatitis B vaccine and MS. However, when the French data were examined closely, the rate of MS in immunized people was not significantly different from the expected population rate. Subsequent studies have found no increase in incidence of MS, or even relapse of MS, after hepatitis B vaccination. Worldwide use of over a billion doses of hepatitis B vaccine has not resulted in increased incidence of MS, as would be expected if there were a causal connection. The Medical Advisory Board of the (US) National Multiple Sclerosis Society has concluded that there is no evidence of a link between hepatitis B vaccination and MS. The Immunization Safety Committee of the Institute of Medicine reviewed the available data on immunization and hepatitis B and concluded that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between hepatitis B vaccine administered to adults and incident multiple sclerosis or multiple sclerosis relapse [5, 7, 8, 15].

Sudden infant death syndrome

Deaths do occasionally occur shortly after vaccination but the relationship is simply an incidental association, as SIDS tends to occur in babies of

2-6 months of age whether they are vaccinated or not. Extensive studies have conclusively shown that SIDS is not caused by immunization. When a number of well-controlled studies were conducted during the 1980s, the investigators found, nearly unanimously, that the number of SIDS deaths temporally associated with diphtheria, tetanus toxoid and pertussis (DTP) immunization was within the range expected to occur by chance. In addition, some studies have found a lower rate of SIDS in immunized children. The Institute of Medicine reported that all controlled studies that have compared immunized versus non-immunized children have found 'either no association ... or a decreased risk ... of SIDS among immunized children' and concluded that the evidence does not indicate a causal relation between vaccines and SIDS [5, 7, 8, 16].

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