Report at a Glance
An analysis of more than 1,000 research articles concluded that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines. A committee of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine to review the scientific literature on possible adverse effects of vaccines found convincing evidence of 14 health outcomes -- including seizures, inflammation of the brain, and fainting -- that can be caused by certain vaccines, although these outcomes occur rarely. It also found indicative though less clear data on associations between specific vaccines and four other effects, such as allergic reactions and temporary joint pain. In addition, the evidence shows there are no links between immunization and some serious conditions that have raised concerns, including Type 1 diabetes and autism. The data were inadequate to reach conclusions about other suggested adverse effects.
The review will help the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) administer the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). VICP is committed to using science-based evidence to inform its decisions about vaccine-related adverse effects, and HHS turned to IOM to provide a comprehensive review of study results on eight vaccines covered by the program. The report's findings will be useful to all stakeholders involved in vaccine compensation decisions, including VICP staff, people filing claims, special masters that rule on vaccine cases, and others.