How to Access Data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink

From time to time, scientists (from outside CDC and outside the VSD network) are interested in using data from the VSD to look differently at vaccine safety questions. When possible, CDC tries to accommodate these requests. Depending on the study, interested researchers may be able to access VSD data and data from VSD publications through public use datasets, the VSD data sharing program, and collaboration with current VSD investigators.

Public Use Datasets

Public use datasets from two VSD studies are available upon request.  These two studies are “Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal from Vaccines and Immunoglobins and Risk of Autism” and “Infant and Environmental Exposures to Thimerosal and Neuropsychological Outcomes at Ages 7 to 10 Years” Interested researchers may learn more about each study through the study documents and reports as well as data files for additional analyses.   Requests to access the public use datasets can be sent to

VSD Data Sharing Program

The VSD data sharing program is administered by the National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center (NCHS RDC).

  1. VSD data created before 2000 are available through the data sharing program for new vaccine safety studies for analyses at the RDC
  2. Datasets from published VSD studies from 2002 to the present may be accessed for secondary analyses at the RDC

The VSD data sharing program is a three-step process:

  1. Submisson of proposals to NCHS RDC
  2. Submission of proposal to VSD participating sites’ Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)
  3. Access to VSD data

The VSD data available through this data sharing program can only be accessed at the NCHS RDC.  Specific details for this program can be found at ‘Guidelines for VSD Data Sharing‘.


Researchers wishing to conduct new vaccine safety studies that may not have been addressed through the VSD may do so through direct collaborations with current VSD investigators to utilize data collected since 2000. Collaboration is at the discretion of each specific VSD site and is outside the scope of CDC authority.
Requests for collaboration can be made through the NCHS RDC (

Recommended References for VSD Researchers

Baggs J, Gee J, Lewis E, Fowler G, Benson P, Lieu T, Naleway A, Klein NP, Baxter R, Belongia E, Glanz J, Hambidge SJ, Jacobsen SJ, Jackson L, Nordin J, Weintraub E. The Vaccine Safety Datalink: A model for monitoring immunization safety. Pediatrics 127 Suppl 1: S45,S53, 2011.

Chen RT, DeStefano F, Davis RL, Jackson LA, Thompson RS, Mullooly JP, Black SB, Shinefield HR, Vadheim CM, Ward JI, Marcy SM, Vaccine Safety Datalink Team. The Vaccine Safety Datalink: Immunization research in health maintenance organizations in the USA. [PDF – 312 KB] Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2000;78:186-194.

Chen RT, Glasser J, Rhodes P, Davis RL, Barlow WE, Thompson RS, Mullooly JP, Black SB, Shinefield HR, Vadheim CM, Marcy SM, Ward JI, Wise RP, Wassilak SG, Hadler SC. The Vaccine Safety Datalink Project: A new tool for improving vaccine safety monitoring in the United States. Pediatrics 1997;99:765-773.

DeStefano F. The Vaccine Safety Datalink project. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 10: 403,6, 2001.