Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 2nd 2014 Contents A28
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Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Some childhood vaccines are linked
to serious side effects, but they are
quite rare and do not include autism,
food allergies or cancer, said a review
of scientific literature yesterday.
A host of vaccines commonly given
to children under age six were the focus
of the systematic review of rigorously
conducted studies, published in the
peer-reviewed US journal Paediatrics.
The report seeks to address a rising
trend of vaccine hesitancy among par-
ents in the United States and Europe,
which has led to a resurgence of measles
and whooping cough in some parts of
"We found that serious adverse
events that are linked to vaccines are
really rare, and that when they do occur
they are often not necessarily severe,"
said study co-author Courtney
Gidengil, a paediatrician at Boston Chil-
dren s Hospital and professor at Harvard
"We think this adds to the body of
evidence that the benefits really do
seem to clearly outweigh the low risk
of serious side effects from vaccines,"
she told AFP.
The study expands on a 2011 report
by the Institute of Medicine that also
pointed to some side effects linked to
vaccines but found "few health prob-
lems are caused by or clearly associated
The Paediatrics report includes sev-
eral vaccines that were not studied by
the IOM, including those against hep-
atitis A, Haemophilus influenzae type
b (Hib), polio, rotavirus and the pneu-
mococcal conjugate vaccine.
Side effects of the measles, mumps
and rubella (MMR) and pneumococcal
vaccines included the potential for fever
The MMR and hepatitis A vaccines
were also linked to a side effect called
purpura, when small blood vessels leak
under the skin.
There was some evidence that
immune-deficient children given the
varicella vaccine against chicken pox
could develop infections or have an
The rotavirus vaccines, RotaTeq and
Rotarix, were associated with a risk of
intussusception, a condition in which
one part of the intestine slides into
However, the risk of this condition
was rare, amounting to between one
to five in 100,000, the researchers said.
"Clinicians who immunise children
regularly may have encountered these
adverse events in their practices, par-
ticularly seizures associated with fever,"
said an accompanying editorial by Car-
rie Byington, vice chair for research in
the paediatrics department at the Uni-
versity of Utah.
"Fortunately, the adverse events
identified by the authors were rare and
in most cases would be expected to
resolve completely after the acute
No fatalities were found in the
research, which spanned from 2010 to
2013 and included a total of 67 studies,
whittled down from more than 20,000
Each study that made the final cut
had a control or comparison group,
and involved vaccines approved for the
US market as of 2011.
The report found insufficient evi-
dence to link the inactivated polio vac-
cine to food allergies, and showed no
link between childhood vaccines and
the onset of leukaemia.
Furthermore, its review of research
backed up the IOM conclusion that
the "MMR vaccine is not associated
with autism," the report said.
The systematic review excluded
reports to the federal Vaccine Adverse
Event Reporting System, which contains
complaints filed by individuals or
healthcare professionals if they suspect
a vaccine may have caused a problem
with a patient s health.
"We didn t use that data because
there is no comparison group out there
and there is no way to really assess the
validity and reliability," said co-author
Margaret Maglione, a policy analyst at
The paper described vaccines as "one
of the greatest public health achieve-
ments of the 20th century for their
role in eradicating smallpox and con-
trolling polio, measles, rubella, and
other infectious diseases in the United
Gidengil said the latest study may
not be enough to change the minds of
parents who are skeptical of vaccines.
"Without this work there would be
a lack of transparency around this issue,
so by doing this important research in
a thorough and systematic way, we
acknowledge that there are rare but
actual side effects," she said.
"And we can document those clearly
for people, which we hope will just
increase some trust in the vaccine
process and the trust between parents
and their healthcare provider."
(AFP Relax News)
low risk of
A new report
address a rising
trend of vaccine
in the United
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