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Odds of Vaccine Harm are One in a Million?

Posted: 9/15/2017 5:56:59 PM | with 2 comments

odds vaccines harm are one in a million?

Many people believe that vaccines are safe and effective, and public health authorities often assure people that serious adverse effects are an extremely rare, “one in a million” event. But on what basis do CDC officials and others make that claim?

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) was an integral part of the vaccine safety informing, recording and reporting provisions secured by parents of vaccine injure children into the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. This act was passed by Congress to shield doctors and vaccine manufacturers from liability when a federally recommended or state mandated vaccine caused injury or death. 

VAERS was designed as a post-marketing vaccine safety surveillance program run jointly by the CDC and the FDA to gather critical information on health problems occurring after vaccination that were not identified in pre-licensure clinical trials. Theoretically, this system should show whether certain vaccines were more problematic than others or whether there was an obvious pattern of harm caused by vaccines. It was not designed to determine causation in individual vaccine adverse event cases reported to VAERS or estimate the incidence of vaccine adverse effects in the U.S. population receiving vaccines.

Doctors and vaccine providers are required to report when a person who has been given a federally recommended vaccine experiences a serious health problem, is permanently injured, or dies after vaccination. However, most vaccine providers do not report either because they feel they are too busy; they are not aware that VAERS exists; they believe that vaccines do not cause serious injury or death so they write off health problems that occur after vaccination as a “coincidence;” or they do not make reporting a priority because there are no sanctions for not reporting. As a result, only an estimated one to 10 percent of vaccine reactions are reported to VAERS.

The true safety of vaccines routinely administered in the U.S. is not known. If all vaccine providers would report, it would give a clearer picture of the effects of vaccinations post-licensure and could be used to stimulate further research into vaccine-related injuries and deaths and identify individual high risk factors for reactions.

Using VAERS data, which is very incomplete, to conclude that serious adverse effects of vaccines occur in only “one in a million” doses is unscientific.. One Canadian study revealed that vaccination led to an emergency room visit for one in 168 children after their 12-month vaccinations and one in 730 children after their 18-month vaccinations—far from extremely rare. 

Read Odds of Vaccine Harm are One in a Million? In NVIC’s online newspaper The Vaccine Reaction. Learn more about the1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, and vaccine safety reporting in Gauging Vaccine Reactions Absent Reliable Reporting. Visit the International Memorial for Vaccine Victims Video Collection to hear personal stories of vaccine injury. 

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Posted: 9/15/2017 5:56:59 PM | with 2 comments


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