Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Vaccines Health Center

Font Size

Report: Vaccines Generally Safe, Cause Few Health Problems

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

Vaccine Side Effects: Report Details continued...

The panel did find some links between vaccines and serious side effects.

"Several vaccines do cause anaphylaxis," Clayton says. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that can occur within seconds or minutes after exposure to the allergen.

"Among them," she says, "are MMR, varicella, influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus toxoid, and meningococcus."

When these vaccines are given, it's common practice to instruct the patient to wait in the office for a few minutes, Clayton tells WebMD. Typically, the anaphylaxis reaction occurs quickly, she says, and treatment can be given.

Clayton says another possible serious side effect of the MMR vaccine is a type of seizure called a febrile seizure, triggered by fevers. "That's been known for two decades. As a mother and a pediatrician, it's scary."

However, she says, there are almost never long-term consequences of febrile seizures.

Children with compromised immune systems, such as those receiving chemotherapy for cancer, can suffer a variety of side effects from vaccines, Clayton says.

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.

Today on WebMD

Baby getting vaccinated
Is there a link? Get the facts.
syringes and graph illustration
Get a customized vaccine schedule.
baby getting a vaccine
Know the benefits and the risk
nurse holding syringe in front of girl
Should your child have it?

What To Know About The HPV Vaccine
24 Kid Illnesses Parents Should Know
Nausea and Vomiting Remedies Slideshow
Managing Immunization Schedules For Kids

Doctor administering vaccine to toddler
gloved hand holding syringe
infant receiving injection

WebMD Special Sections