Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism, IOM Affirms

Vaccines do not cause autism and Type 1 diabetes, IOM Affirms

Vaccines do not cause autism or Type 1 diabetes, according to a report released yesterday by the Institute of Medicine. The report, which was based on analysis of more than 1,000 research articles, did find convincing evidence of 14 adverse effects that can be caused in rare instances by certain vaccines, as well as less conclusive connections between specific vaccines and four other adverse effects.

The US Department of Health and Human Services requested the review of connections between adverse effects and vaccines to help it administer the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which was established by Congress in 1986 to provide compensation to people harmed by vaccines. The review was carried out by a group of experts.

The experts found that there is no evidence linking vaccines and four specific conditions: The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine does not cause autism; neither the MMR vaccine nor the diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine causes Type 1 diabetes; and the influenza vaccine does not cause Bell’s palsy or worsen asthma.

The report found the following links between specific vaccines and adverse effects:

  • The MMR vaccine can in rare instances lead to fever-triggered seizures, though these are almost always without long-term consequences, and can also produce rare brain inflammation in people with severe immune system deficiencies.
  • The varicella vaccine against chicken pox can induce brain swelling, pneumonia, hepatitis, meningitis, shingles, and chicken pox in some patients with compromised immune systems as well as in some with apparently normal immune function.
  • The MMR, varicella, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, and tetanus-containing vaccines can trigger an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis shortly after injection.
  • In general, vaccine injection can cause fainting and inflammation of the shoulder.

The report also found somewhat less conclusive links between the following specific vaccines and adverse effects:

  • The MMR vaccine seems to cause short-term joint pain in some women and children.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine seems to trigger anaphylaxis in some.
  • Some influenza vaccines used outside the US seem to have caused a mild, temporary oculo-respiratory syndrome characterized by conjunctivitis, facial swelling, and mild respiratory symptoms.


Few Health Problems Are Caused by Vaccines, IOM Report Finds [Press Release]