Tag: benefits

How Often Do Severe Events Occur After Vaccines?

Most of us understand that vaccine reactions are usually mild. While severe events can occur after vaccines, they are very rare.

“That measles infections can cause neurologic side effects on rare occasions is known, but the complication rate for vaccinations is low. After infectious measles encephalitis, risk of an autistic regression has occurred in 1/1000 to 1/10,000 cases. If the trend toward delaying vaccination continues because parents remain misinformed about the MMR, the number of children with neurologic complications of measles or rubella will increase. ”

Chez et al on Immunizations, Immunology, and Autism

Unfortunately, being worried about severe reactions sometimes scares parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

How Often Do Severe Events Occur After Vaccines?

Hopefully, realizing just how rare these severe reactions are will help more parents understand that all of the benefits of vaccines (very big) truly do outweigh the risks (very small).

How often do severe events occur after MMR vaccines?
How often do severe events occur after MMR vaccines?

So how often do these events occur?

Are there any statistics?

Using the MMR vaccine information statement as an example, we see that it lists the following severe events:

  • deafness – which is so rare to be associated with MMR that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine
  • long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness – which is so rare to be associated with MMR that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine
  • brain damage – which is so rare to be associated with MMR that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine
  • severe allergic reaction – which occurs in less than 1 out of a million doses
  • serious injury or death – which is so rare to be associated with MMR that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine

Wait.

Why can’t we tell if these problems are caused by the vaccine?

In some cases, the association is based on a few case reports.

“With respect to the recent claims of deaths caused by MMR vaccine, drawing broad cause and effect conclusions between vaccination and deaths based on spontaneous reports to VAERS, some of which might be anecdotal or second hand, is not a scientifically valid practice. In fact, a review of the VAERS data reveals that many of the death reports for MMR vaccine involved children with serious preexisting medical conditions or were likely unrelated to vaccination (e.g., accidents). These complete VAERS reports and any accompanying medical records, autopsy reports and death certificates have been reviewed in depth by FDA and CDC physicians and no concerning patterns have emerged that would suggest a causal relationship with the MMR vaccine and death.”

Miller et al on Deaths following vaccination: What does the evidence show?

Mostly though, these type of severe events just occur so rarely after getting vaccinated.

“As for vaccines causing death, again so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically.”

WHO on Six common misconceptions about immunization

At a rate of less than 1 in a million doses, it gets hard to know if something was really caused by the vaccine or if it was just a coincidence, as you don’t have a lot of cases to compare with each other.

Still, it should be reassuring that even if they were caused by the vaccine, these serious events are extremely rare.

Vaccines are safe, with few risks.

More on How Often Severe Events Occur After Vaccines

More Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated Studies

Anti-vaccine folks continue to call for vaccinated vs unvaccinated studies.

A vaccinated vs unvaccinated study that anti-vaccine folks don't talk about...
A vaccinated vs unvaccinated study that anti-vaccine folks don’t talk about…

Not surprisingly, they ignore all of the studies that have already been done.

More Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated Studies

Listening to these anti-vaccine folks, you would actually think that the only vaccinated vs unvaccinated “study” that has ever been done is the survey about homeschoolers that they always talk about

That leaves out a lot of other vaccinated vs unvaccinated studies, including:

Do we need even more studies on vaccinated vs unvaccinated children?

We already know that unvaccinated kids get sick more and they have more severe disease. Who is going to approve of or want to do a study that only puts kids at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and they are obviously necessary.

More on Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated Studies

Do Vaccinated Kids Who Get Sick Have Milder Disease?

There is another benefit of vaccines that you might not be aware of.

Vaccines are typically very effective, but of course, they aren’t perfect.

Fortunately, even when they don’t work and you do get sick, vaccinated kids will often have milder disease than those who are unvaccinated.

Do Vaccinated Kids Who Get Sick Have Milder Disease?

While no one expects to get a vaccine-preventable disease if they have been vaccinated, it is nice to know that often, you will at least have a milder disease.

“Disease may occur in previously vaccinated individuals. Such breakthroughs are either primary – due to vaccine failure – or secondary. In such cases, the disease is usually milder than in the non-vaccinated.”

Vaccination greatly reduces disease, disability, death and inequity worldwide

Milder mumps and pertussis?

“The number of previous vaccine doses was inversely associated with clinical severity.”

Zamir et al on Characteristics of a large mumps outbreak: Clinical severity, complications and association with vaccination status of mumps outbreak cases

Yes!

And that’s good news for all of the folks concerned about waning immunity with these vaccines.

“A protective effect of vaccination was noted when mean duration of symptoms and hospital stay are analysed, comparing unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated children. We showed a vaccination dose effect trend, with fully vaccinated children having less-severe RVGE than not vaccinated and partially vaccinated children.”

Justino et al on Clinical Severity and Rotavirus Vaccination among Children Hospitalized for Acute Gastroenteritis in Belém, Northern Brazil

Consider that, in addition to preventing disease:

  • two doses of MMR has been found to have a significant preventive effect against mumps complications, including orchitis, meningitis, and encephalitis, and hospitalization for mumps
  • two doses of the chickenpox vaccine has been found to be very effective at preventing severe disease, in fact, kids with breakthrough chickenpox often don’t have fever, have fewer than 50 spots, and they go away quicker than kids who are unvaccinated.
  • vaccinated kids who get pertussis typically don’t cough as long as those who are unvaccinated
  • the rotavirus vaccine series, in addition to protecting most kids from getting rotavirus infections in the first place, protected all of the vaccinated kids from getting severe infections
  • the flu vaccine reduces the risk of severe disease, especially if you are hospitalized with the flu

What does this all mean?

Two kids with smallpox - one vaccinated and one unvaccinated. Can you guess which is which? The vaccinated child on the right only has one or two spots...
Two kids with smallpox – one vaccinated and one unvaccinated. Can you guess which is which? The vaccinated child on the right only has one or two spots…

It means that vaccines work, even when they don’t work as well as we would like them to!

More On the Severity of Breakthrough Infections

12 Things Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong

Anti-vaccine parents who skip or delay their child’s vaccines think that they are doing the right thing for their kids.

Not having a cookie doesn’t make you immune to getting cookies…
Not having a cookie doesn’t make you immune to getting cookies…

They aren’t.

What Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong

There are no benefits to skipping or delaying vaccines – only extra risks.

What’s the biggest risk? That their child will get a vaccine-preventable disease while they are unprotected.

And the risks aren’t only to their own children. Being unvaccinated and unprotected, they can get sick and put others at risk of getting sick too. This includes those who are too young to be vaccinated, too young to be fully vaccinated and protected, and those who may have a compromised immune system and can’t be vaccinated.

Mostly though, anti-vaccine parents have wrong ideas about:

  • the benefits of vaccines – while vaccine advocates admit that vaccines are neither 100% safe nor 100% effective, you rarely see anti-vaccine folks admit that vaccines have benefits, as that would create too much cognitive dissonance for them
  • shedding – everything you have read about vaccine shedding and “shedding season” likely isn’t true
  • the risks of vaccines – although vaccines are not 100% safe, as I have already said, anti-vaccine folks typically overstate their risks, making you think that they cause all of the vaccine injuries and vaccine-induced diseases that you read about online
  • the benefits of natural immunity – while natural immunity is great, it is important to understand that it comes with a cost – you have to survive a disease to get those benefits, and not everyone does, at least not without some complications
  • forced vaccination – a vaccine mandate to attend school is not forced vaccination
  • the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases – most folks don’t understand the true risks of vaccine-preventable diseases anymore because vaccines work so well to keep them under control, but it is important to remember that these are life-threatening diseases and we will see more outbreaks and more deaths and complications if they continue to come back
  • the risks of getting sick – if you are unvaccinated and unprotected and hiding in the herd, you are at risk to catch a vaccine-preventable disease
  • Big Pharma conspiracies – it is silly to think that we have been able to keep a global Big Pharma conspiracy about vaccines a secret
  • toxins – there are no toxic ingredients in vaccines
  • the risk of getting others sick – who else is going to get sick if you start an outbreak? Someone who is too young to be vaccinated or can’t be vaccinated because they have a problem with their immune system?
  • vaccine choice – since there is no forced vaccination, talk of vaccine choice is simply anti-vaccine folks complaining because they don’t like all of the choices they have been given, even as they are very happy to take away the choice of the rest of us to not have to worry about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases
  • placebos – although they are now fixated on this, it is important to keep in mind that a placebo doesn’t have to be saline or an inert substance, a standard that is only set by anti-vaccine folks

What else do anti-vaccine parents get wrong?

They are very wrong if they are making the right decision in skipping or delaying their child’s vaccines.

More on What Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong