A new report published in the journal Pediatrics found adverse reactions to vaccines are rare but do happen, and in some cases, the reactions can be serious.
After looking over about 20,000 research papers, the health professionals who wrote this report analyzed the results of 67 research studies that met their criteria. The team launched the project because there has been a resurgence of some diseases in the United States, including measles and whooping cough.
Researchers examined the safety of 11 vaccines for children under age 6: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, meningococcal, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), varicella (chickenpox), Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), pneumococcal, rotavirus and inactivated poliovirus vaccine.
When studying the MMR vaccine, researchers found a causal relationship between the vaccine and an increased risk of febrile, or fever-related, seizures in young children. The MMR vaccine was also linked to a side effect called thrombocytopenic purpura. The condition can lead to excessive bruising or bleeding caused by a low platelet count in the blood. The hepatitis A and varicella vaccines were also shown to cause purpura in some cases.
There was also evidence of anaphylactic reactions in children who were allergic to ingredients in the MMR vaccine, as well as incidences of measles inclusion body encephalitis in kids who were immuno-compromised.
With the meningococcal vaccine, some children also experienced a serious allergic reaction.
Researchers also concluded that influenza vaccines may increase the risk of febrile seizures and stomach problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea in children.
Two vaccines, RotaTeq and Rotarix, protect against rotavirus
, which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. This study indicates rotavirus vaccines do increase the risk of intussusception
, which causes part of the intestine to telescope into itself. However, doctors note rotavirus itself can also cause the same condition.
Researchers did not find a link between any of the vaccines and autism, multiple sclerosis, cancer, or food allergies.
The study’s authors said these adverse reactions
only happen to a very small number of children, and vaccines have played a crucial role in eradicating some infectious diseases, and controlling the rate of others, including smallpox, polio, and measles.
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