The IOM has conducted an exhaustive survey of almost 1,000 research studies and concluded that vaccines are tied to very few and usually mild side effects. The expert panel examined 8 common vaccines: MMR, DTaP, varicella for chickenpox, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, tetanus-containing vaccines and the HPV vaccine, according to Reuters.
The IOM determined that the vaccines weren't tied to an increased risk of autism or type 1 diabetes. Side effects did include high fevers, allergic reaction and seizures, though in most cases they subsided quickly. "Despite looking very hard, it was really hard to find that vaccines cause injuries and the injuries they do cause are generally pretty mild and self-contained," said committee chair Ellen Wright Clayton, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, in an interview with Reuters.
An increasing number of parents are skipping their kids' vaccinations due to misguided fears that the vaccines can cause a variety of serious side effects. Lower vaccination levels have led to outbreaks of whooping cough and measles in recent years. The IOM may ease the concerns of some parents, though it's unlikely to sway the staunchest anti-vaccine crusaders.
"The big take-home message is that we found only a few cases in which vaccines can cause adverse side effects, and the vast majority of those are short-term and self-limiting," added Clayton.