No Childhood Vaccination-Diabetes Link
Childhood Vaccines Not Associated With Type 1 Diabetes Risk
WebMD News Archive
Vaccinations Don't Increase Diabetes Risk
In the study, researchers looked at all the children born in
Denmark from 1990 to 2000 for whom detailed information on vaccinations and
type 1 diabetes was available.
Among this group of 739,694 children, 681 were diagnosed with
type 1 diabetes. Researchers compared the risk of developing the disease among
unvaccinated children with children who had received at least one dose of the
following common childhood vaccines and combinations:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
Diphtheria, tetanus, and inactivated poliovirus
Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, and inactivated
Whole-cell pertussis vaccine
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
The study showed that there was no significant increase in
diabetes risk associated with single or escalating doses of any of the
In addition, the study also looked at the period following
vaccination and did not find any clustering of diabetes cases in the time
period after vaccination.
An increase in the number of new type 1 diabetes cases in
children within a few years following vaccination is often cited as a sign that
the vaccines might be to blame in triggering the disease, but the study found
no such clustering.
Finally, when researchers looked at children who were
genetically predisposed for the development of type 1 diabetes because they had
a sibling with the disease, they found no increase in risk among those who had
been vaccinated compared with unvaccinated high-risk children.
Closing the Door on Vaccine-Diabetes Debate?
Hviid says it is always easier to come up with a hypothesis
rather than to refute it, but this study comes as close as possible to closing
the door on the debate on whether there's a cause-and-effect relationship
between childhood vaccination and the development of type 1 diabetes.
"The design and size of this study makes our results very
robust, and we couldn't find any indication of association," Hviid tells
WebMD. "I can't see how it's going to be conducted larger or better
In an editorial that accompanies the study, Lynne Levitsky, MD,
of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, agrees
and says the results of study "conclusively demonstrate that there is no
relationship between vaccination history and the development of type 1
"The scientific community should now move on to the most
important tasks: identifying the genetic, immunologic, and environmental
phenomena that are actually responsible for the development of diabetes and
finding the means to prevent and treat this chronic disorder," says