Tag: VAERS

Do Flu Vaccines Have More Reported Side Effects Than Other Vaccines?

Flu vaccines are safe, with few side effects.

Anti-vaccine propaganda scares people about flu shots.

So why do some people think that they are dangerous and have a lot of side effects?

Do Flu Vaccines Have More Reported Side Effects Than Other Vaccines?

Unlike most things anti-vaccine folks say, there is a hint of truth to the idea that flu vaccines have more reported side effects than other vaccines.

Why?

Just over 160 million doses of flu vaccine will be distributed in the United States this season.
Just over 160 million doses of flu vaccine will be distributed in the United States this season.

Since 2006, over 1.6 trillion doses of flu vaccine have been distributed in the United States, which equals about the combined total of all the other vaccines we use, including DTaP, rotavirus, hepatitis B, MMR, Tdap, and HPV, etc.

Overall, since we give so many more flu vaccines than any other vaccine, we can expect to get more reports of side effects from those flu vaccines.

That’s simple math.

On the other hand though, after getting a flu vaccine, you should not expect to have any extra side effects as compared to getting any other vaccine.

Remember, side effects from flu vaccines are generally mild and go away quickly. And more serious side effects are rare.

Get your flu vaccine and avoid getting the flu.

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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?

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About Those Anti-Vaccine Signs Some Folks Are Making

Sadly, even as some of us are working to fight measles outbreaks, others are actually protesting against getting kids vaccinated and protected. And they have gotten someone to finance the making of hundreds of anti-vaccine signs.

Signs that list the typical anti-vaccine talking points that we have been refuted a thousand times…

About Those Anti-Vaccine Signs Some Folks Are Making

Not surprisingly, there is nothing new about these signs.

It will be nearly impossible to eradicate measles with all of these folks scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids!
It will be nearly impossible to eradicate measles with all of these folks scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids!

Remember, every anti-vaccine argument is essentially a PRATT, a point refuted a thousand times.

72 vaccines??? Kids routinely get 14 different vaccines to protect them against 16 different vaccine-preventable diseases
72 vaccines??? Kids routinely get 14 different vaccines to protect them against 16 different vaccine-preventable diseases.

Whether it is in a book, on Facebook or Twitter, or on a sign, don’t let this type of anti-vaccine misinformation keep you from vaccinating and protecting your kids.

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

“One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

National Catholic Bioethics Center FAQ on the Use of Vaccines

“A moral obligation” to vaccinate your kids…

Maybe we should put that on a sign!

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Side Effects and Adverse Events Following Immunizations

Vaccines are safe, but they do have some side effects, mostly mild, and they rarely cause some serious and severe adverse reactions.

Vaccine adverse events can be reported to VAERS online or using a downloadable form.
Vaccine adverse events can be reported to VAERS online or using a downloadable form.

To help keep our vaccines safe, it is important that all “clinically important adverse events that occur after vaccination of adults and children” be reported to VAERS, not just the ones that are known to be side effects.

Wait.

Isn’t an adverse event the same as a side effect?

Adverse Events Following Immunizations

To better understand that, let’s first look at how we define an adverse event following immunization (AEFI):

“An Adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunization and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine. The adverse event may be any unfavourable or unintended sign, abnormal laboratory finding, symptom or disease.”

Classification of AEFIs

So it should be clear that not all adverse events are actually caused by vaccines.

Many are coincidental events that simply occur after a vaccine is given.

What’s the Difference Between Side Effects and Adverse Events Following Immunizations?

Others are true vaccine reactions though, including fever, pain, fainting, and allergic reactions, etc.

“A side effect is any health problem shown by studies to be caused by a vaccine. Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. Usually vaccine side effects are minor (for example, a sore arm where a shot was given or a low-grade fever after a vaccine) and go away on their own within a few days.”

Understanding Side Effects and Adverse Events

These are the reactions that we call side effects or adverse reactions of the vaccine.

Still, just because a sign or symptom can be a side effect of a vaccine doesn’t mean that it always will be.

“A vaccine reaction is an individual’s response to the inherent properties of the vaccine, even when the vaccine has been prepared, handled and administered correctly.”

Vaccine reactions – WHO Vaccine Safety Basics

Here are some other definitions:

  • adverse event – Medical occurrence temporally associated with the use of a medicinal product, but not necessarily causally related.
  • adverse reaction/side effect – A response to a drug which is noxious and unintended, and which occurs at doses normally used in man for the prophylaxis, diagnosis, or therapy of disease, or for the modifications of physiological function.
  • unexpected adverse reaction – Not consistent with applicable product information or characteristics of drug.
  • severe adverse event or reaction – are rarely life-threatening and usually do not result in long-term problems
  • serious adverse event or reaction – Any untoward medical occurrence that at any dose is life-threatening, results in death, requires inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization, or results in persistent of significant disability or incapacity

Does understanding those definitions make it easier to see why you should be skeptical when folks try to scare you with VAERS reports and data from package inserts?

“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

They both can include reports about adverse events, not just side effects. So they both include events that can very well be coincidental, and not caused by a vaccine.

So when doing your research about vaccines, focus on real side effects, or things that are known to be caused by vaccines. You will find that most vaccine side effects are mild and that more serious or severe side effects are very rare.

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