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Report: Vaccines Generally Safe, Cause Few Health Problems

Vaccine Safety Analysis Rules Out Links to Autism, Diabetes; Confirms Links to Some Side Effects

Vaccine Safety: Perspectives

The report has some inconsistencies, says Lyn Redwood, RN, vice president of the Coalition for SafeMinds. The organization is devoted to eradicating autism and other health problems it believes to be caused by mercury and other toxins.

"To me, it is inconsistent that the report says while we acknowledge an association between seizure and inflammation and certain vaccines, we don't acknowledge an association between vaccines and autism," she says.

She cites research that finds children and adults with autism or autism spectrum disorder may have an ongoing brain inflammation. "An all-out effort is needed to better understand why some children are harmed by vaccines and what can be done to make them safer," she says.

"It is equally unacceptable for a child to be harmed by a vaccine-preventable disease as it is for a child to be harmed by a vaccine," she says.

Neal Halsey, MD, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, served as an independent reviewer of the report but did not make recommendations or conclusions.

"Overall, I think it's an excellent report and it helps answer many of the safety questions," he tells WebMD. "I think it's a fair and honest and fairly complete report."

For parents, he says, "I think the important news is that vaccines are generally very safe and that many of the claims about vaccines having caused things like diabetes and autism are not supported by the scientific evidence. But vaccines, like every other medical intervention we have, do carry with them some adverse risks. But the risks of not being vaccinated are far greater than the rare risk of serious complications for the vaccine."

Halsey reports receiving research funds from Merck for HPV vaccine research and serving on safety review committees for Novartis and Merck. He has conducted vaccine safety studies for the CDC.

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