Editorials

Vaccination and its adverse effects: real or perceived

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7152.159 (Published 18 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:159

Society should think about means of linking exposure to potential long term effect 

  1. Tom Jefferson (zorria@epinet.co.uk), Coordinator
  1. Cochrane Vaccines Field, Ministry of Defence, Ash Vale, Hants GU12 5RR

    Vaccines have been spuriously linked to sudden infant death syndrome,1 paediatric asthma,2 autism,3 inflammatory bowel disease,4 and permanent brain damage.5 Recently US researchers have suggested that vaccination after 28 days after birth may induce type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes mellitus in susceptible individuals.5 This theory, pounced on earlier this year by the US media, may have led to a lowering of confidence in childhood routine immunisation. In May several institutions (including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Centres for Disease Control, the World Health Organisation, and the UK's Department of Health) sponsored a workshop at the US National Institutes for Health to assess the evidence of a possible causal link.

    Immunologists, diabetologists, epidemiologists, policymakers, and observers debated the available evidence for two days and concluded that it does not support a causal link between vaccination and the onset of type 1 diabetes. Some short and longer term observational studies to test the hypothesis are currently underway. However, the results of a large randomised controlled trial of vaccine against …

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