The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies Reports on Vaccine Safety

The Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicineexternal icon (formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM)) is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. Occasionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asks HMD to examine all of the current medical and scientific evidence on a particular topic. Below are summaries of IOM reports relating to vaccine safety.

HMD Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule – 2013

HMD convened the Committee on Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule to conduct an independent evaluation of the safety of the childhood immunization schedule.

The HMD report, “The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safetyexternal icon” was issued on January 16, 2013. In it, the Committee expressed support for the childhood immunization schedule as a tool to protect against vaccine- preventable diseases.  The Committee recommended using healthcare records data to continue to study the safety of vaccines.  The Committee also reconfirmed a finding [PDF – 631 KB]external icon of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) that said conducting a study requiring some children to receive fewer vaccines than recommended, as would be needed for a randomized controlled trial, would be unethical.

Read the full reportexternal icon

HMD Report on Adverse Effects of Vaccines – 2011

HHS charged the HMD with providing a thorough review of the current medical and scientific evidence on vaccines and vaccine adverse events.

The HDM Committee on Vaccines and Adverse Events released its report, “Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causalityexternal icon” on August 25, 2011. This analysis was used to update the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s (VICP)external icon Vaccine Injury Table (VIT) pdf icon[PDF – 12 pages]external icon and provide scientific basis for future review and decisions on VICP claims.  The IOM Committee used peer-reviewed literature to review eight vaccines given to children or adults:

 

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella
  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal
  • Diphtheria-toxoid-, tetanus toxoid-, and acellular pertussis-containing vaccines

The findings indicate that these vaccines are very safe and that serious adverse events are quite rare. The HMD has conducted two similar extensive reviews in the past. The last one was published in 1994.

Read the full reportexternal icon

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