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Review Finds Childhood Vaccines to Be Largely Safe — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 2, 2014

Review Finds Childhood Vaccines to Be Largely Safe

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Childhood vaccines are largely safe, and serious adverse events are "extremely rare," according to a systematic review published in Pediatrics.

Analyzing the results of 67 studies, reviewers found the following associations between childhood vaccines and adverse events:

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib): local discomfort but no serious adverse events

  • Hepatitis A: thrombocytopenic purpura in children aged 7 to 17 years

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine-13 (PCV13): febrile seizures (roughly 14 per 100,000 doses); risk is higher when coadministered with trivalent inactivated flu vaccine (45 per 100,000)

  • Rotavirus: intussusception

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR): febrile seizures and thrombocytopenic purpura, but not autism

  • Varicella: complications in children who are immunodeficient

In addition, there was no association between multiple vaccines and childhood leukemia and no association between diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine and type 1 diabetes.

A commentator writes that the results are "not unexpected." She concludes: "Clinicians can examine the nonbiased data ... to increase their own confidence in vaccine safety and their advocacy for vaccines. Ideally, provider confidence in vaccine safety will increase the confidence of the families they serve and increase vaccination rates for children

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