IOM: Vaccines safe and unrelated to autism

The print media devoted major coverage to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report showing that the benefits of vaccines far exceed their risks. In addition, the IOM assures professionals, researchers, policy makers, and, most importantly, parents, that vaccines are NOT associated with and DO NOT cause autism or autism spectrum disorders ASD).

USA Today reports that the IOM’s report has considered “virtually every potential complication” of vaccines, concluding that “vaccines’ enormous benefits far outweigh the risks,” and that “common childhood immunizations do not cause chronic diseases such as autism and diabetes.”

Infectious disease expert William Schaffner, who was not involved in the report, says that “parents’ refusal of vaccines is allowing once-forgotten diseases to re-emerge,” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “unvaccinated people are fueling the current measles epidemic, which has affected 193 people so far this year.”

The LA Times reports  that “when problems do arise, they most often occur in people with preexisting immune system disorders.”

The committee reviewed more than 1,000 scientific articles to assess vaccine safety. The report, the first comprehensive review of the issue by the Institute of Medicine since 1994, supports several previous analyses that failed to find a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.

Moreover, the panel said they could find no evidence showing the diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine causes type 1 diabetes or that the flu shot worsens asthma or causes Bell’s palsy, a nerve disorder that causes temporary paralysis of the muscles in the face.

However, committee members said they found evidence that various vaccines can cause a range of side effects, usually minor, such as fainting or soreness at the injection site. For example the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine can cause fever-related seizures, although such seizures rarely cause any permanent disability.

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