Tag: causal relationship

Bobby Kennedy’s Vaccine Injury Debate

Why do some folks think that vaccine injuries are so common?

Unlike Bobby Kennedy, the CDC explains that severe injuries from vaccines are very rare.
Unlike Bobby Kennedy, the CDC explains that severe injuries from vaccines are very rare.

Oh, the usual suspects…

Bobby Kennedy’s Vaccine Injury Debate

Hopefully everyone sees what Bobby Kennedy is doing here.

He is mixing up a lot of different things, hoping you won’t notice and that you will walk away scared to vaccinate and protect your kids.

First things first.

Does the CDC say that 1 in 1,000,000 may be injured by shots?

Actually, no.

That sounds like the rate for severe vaccine injuries, like anaphylaxis and death.

What Bobby Kennedy is talking about though, that Federal Study, is a report, Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS), that was conducted at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc.

“Preliminary data were collected from June 2006 through October 2009 on 715,000 patients, and 1.4 million doses (of 45 different vaccines) were given to 376,452 individuals. Of these doses, 35,570 possible reactions (2.6 percent of vaccinations) were identified.”

Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS)

The study identified all possible reactions, including minor reactions, like pain and fever, and wasn’t looking at just vaccine injuries, unless that is what you consider to be a vaccine injury. And since the study was looking at VAERS and possible reactions, they were not even necessarily causally related to the vaccines that the kids were given.

What else does Bobby Kennedy say?

“Slide 3 is a table from HHS’s 2016 Neiss-Cades survey published in JAMA reporting an astonishing 19.5% of children under five who are admitted to emergency rooms for drug reactions are suffering vaccine injuries.”

Bobby Kennedy

What kind of vaccine injuries?

They are vaccination reactions – any adverse effect from a vaccine. They could be fever, hives, or a febrile seizure – we don’t know. Importantly, only a very small percentage of those kids who went to the ER were hospitalized.

Lastly, Bobby Kennedy wonders how a pediatrician might claim to have never seen a vaccine injury.

It’s easy to understand his confusion.

Getting listed in a vaccine insert doesn't automatically make something a vaccine injury.
Getting listed in a vaccine insert doesn’t automatically make something a vaccine injury.

Most people reserve the term vaccine injury for the more severe reactions covered under the Vaccine Injury Table, like anaphylaxis, VAPP, thrombocytopenic purpura, and intussusception.

And they use the term side effects for the more temporary reactions that are thought to be caused by a vaccine.

All of these vaccine adverse events can be reported to VAERS online or using a downloadable form.
All of these vaccine adverse events can be reported to VAERS online or using a downloadable form.

That’s very unlike those folks who consider anything and everything that happens after a child is vaccinated, even if it is many months later, to be a vaccine injury, including things like ADHD, diabetes, and autism, etc.

More on Vaccine Injuries

Do Vaccines Cause Food Allergies?

Why do some folks think that vaccines can cause food allergies?

It’s likely for the same reason that they think that vaccines can cause eczema and reflux.

Many infants develop the first signs of food allergies around the same time that they are getting their first vaccines

Do Vaccines Cause Food Allergies?

To be clear, vaccines can be associated with food allergies, including:

  • eggs – most children with an egg allergy can get the flu shot, although the yellow fever vaccine could still be an issue
  • gelatin – some vaccines use gelatin, like in Jell-O, as a stabilizer
  • yeast – although they aren’t thought to be an issue for kids with yeast allergies, a few vaccines can have residual amounts of yeast in them
  • milk – very rarely and mainly based on scattered case reports, it is thought that residual casein proteins in DTaP/Tdap vaccines could trigger allergic reactions in some kids with severe milk allergies

But vaccines don’t cause these food allergies.

What about peanut allergies? Peanut oil is not actually a component of vaccines and vaccines have not caused a peanut allergy epidemic.

And FPIES?

“Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) is a type of non-IgE mediated food allergy that can present with severe vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.”

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

It is important to note that having FPIES is not a contraindication to getting vaccinated.

And that’s not surprising, as there is no biologically plausible mechanism for any association between FPIES and vaccines!

What about the rotavirus vaccines? Could they be causing FPIES?

FPIES was recognized in the mid-1970s. We didn’t have a rotavirus vaccine back then.

Could it have been the oral polio virus, which we were using in the 1970s?

“Some researchers have speculated that T cells play a central role in the development of the localized inflammation in the intestinal tract that characterizes FPIES, but this theory has not been confirmed.”

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome

If it was, then why didn’t FPIES go away when we stopped using the oral polio vaccine in 2000. Or when we used neither OPV nor a rotavirus vaccine, from 2000 to 2007?

“The reviewed epidemiological evidence indicates that, although possibly not contributing to optimal stimulation of the immune system in infancy, current infant vaccines do not cause allergic diseases.”

Koppen et al on No epidemiological evidence for infant vaccinations to cause allergic disease.

There is also no evidence that vaccines are causing other types of food allergies.

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

As you wait for your child to hopefully outgrow their food allergy, don’t unnecessarily skip or delay their vaccines and leave them at risk to get a vaccine preventable disease.

Vaccines and Food Allergies

Did the AAP Say That Vaccines Cause Severe Brain Injury?

Bob Sears is telling folks that the American Academy of Pediatrics says severe brain injuries are caused by vaccines.

Bob Sears doesn't mention that measles is much more likely to cause severe brain injury and death, or more recent studies that counter his post.
Bob Sears doesn’t mention that measles is much more likely to cause severe brain injury and death, or more recent studies that counter his post.

Did the AAP say that?

“A causal relationship they say.”

Bob Sears

No, they didn’t.

The researchers in Pediatrics didn’t even say that…

Did the AAP Say That Vaccines Cause Severe Brain Injury?

What did they say?

“This clustering suggests that a causal relationship between measles vaccine and encephalopathy may exist as a rare complication of measles immunization.”

Weibel et al on Acute Encephalopathy Followed by Permanent Brain Injury or Death Associated With Further Attenuated Measles Vaccines: A Review of Claims Submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The study was about reports to VAERS

Over 23 years, the researchers (in 1998) found reports of 48 cases of acute encephalopathy among about 75,000,000 children who were vaccinated, some clustered in the second week after they received a measles containing vaccine.

Does that mean that those measles containing vaccines caused the encephalopathy?

“In the absence of a specific test to determine vaccine causation, these 48 cases may include some nonvaccine cases representing background rates.”

Weibel et al on Acute Encephalopathy Followed by Permanent Brain Injury or Death Associated With Further Attenuated Measles Vaccines: A Review of Claims Submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

No, it doesn’t.

It was a signal that got some attention though.

And as it has been further investigated, there has been no evidence that measles containing vaccines cause encephalitis, at least not above 1 in a million background rates.

What does cause encephalitis?

“About 1 child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.”

Complications of Measles

Measles.

Measles, a life-threatening vaccine-preventable disease, causes encephalitis.

Are your kids vaccinated and protected with two doses of MMR?

More on Vaccines and Severe Brain Injury

Using and Misusing VAERS Reports

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is considered “an early warning system to detect possible safety issues with U.S. vaccines.”

Created as part of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1990, anyone can report possible vaccine reactions to VAERS.

Using and Misusing VAERS Reports

Just remember that just because something is reported to VAERS and is included in the VAERS database, that doesn’t automatically mean that a vaccine caused the reaction.

Additional information is sometimes requested to further look into these reactions, including medical records.

“Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”

Guide to Interpreting VAERS Data

For example, one study of VAERS reports found that only 3% of the adverse events following immunization “were classified as definitely causally related to vaccine received.”

Despite its limitations, VAERS works well.

It was using VAERS data that CDC and FDA vaccine experts quickly discovered that the older RotaShield rotavirus vaccine was associated with an increased risk of intussusception.

More on Misusing VAERS Reports