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Children's Vaccines Health Center

Expert Q&A: Childhood Vaccine Safety

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What does the CDC do when it gets a report that a vaccine has caused a serious side effect? continued...

It's known that febrile seizures following [vaccination] are known to be fairly benign with a good prognosis.

If it's an unknown reaction, often a physician will call and want to know if the vaccine caused it. We encourage the physician or provider to file a report. We review [the database] to see if there is kind of a pattern that does indicate this particular adverse event is occurring more frequently with this vaccine than with other vaccines.

Usually the next step would be to initiate more formal epidemiological investigation.  Usually that is through our program called the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). That’s a collaboration we have with 8 managed care organizations.

They cover about 9 million people and they have electronic records.

Do vaccines cause autism?

The scientific evidence is clear that vaccines do not cause autism. The Institute of Medicine, IOM, issued a report in 2004. ... Studies since 2004 have continued to find no increased risk of autism following vaccination, including a study we published in Pediatrics in September.

Is it dangerous for kids to be getting so many vaccines at once?

The available scientific data show that simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccines has no adverse effects on the normal childhood immune system.

A number of studies have been conducted ... and these studies have shown that recommended vaccines are as effective in combination as they are individually and that such combinations carry no greater risk for adverse side effects.

So no evidence suggests that the recommended childhood vaccines can, quote, overload the immune system.

Are the combination vaccines safe?

Combination vaccines have been used since the mid-1940s. ... They have been used for many years without evidence of adverse effects and just as effectively as giving them singly.

There are a few exceptions. The most notable is the MMRV: measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella all in one.  Febrile seizures can occur more frequently with a combination MMRV than when MMR and V are administered as separate injections.

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