Institute of Medicine (IOM) Reports on Vaccine Safety

Founded in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is one of three academies that make up the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicineexternal icon (the National Academies) in the United States. As part of a restructuring of the National Academies in 2015, IOM became NAM. The National Academies are private, nonprofit institutions that work outside of government to provide objective advice on matters of science, technology, and health.

Occasionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asks NAM to examine all of the current medical and scientific evidence on a particular topic. Below are summaries of historical IOM reports relating to vaccine safety.

IOM Report on the Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety – 2013

The Childhood Imminuzation Schedule and Safety Report

Institute of Medicine. 2013. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. icon.

The IOM 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 IOM issued the report on January 16, 2013. In it, the Committee expressed support for the recommended 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 of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) pdf icon[PDF – 96 Pages]external icon 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.

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Child and Adult Immunization Schedules
Get CDC’s official recommended immunization schedules for children, adolescents, and adults.

IOM Report on Adverse Effects of Vaccines – 2011

Adverse Effects of Vaccines - Evidence and Causality

Institute of Medicine. 2012. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. icon.

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

The IOM Committee on Vaccines and Adverse Events released its report on August 25, 2011. This analysis was used to update the Vaccine Injury Table pdf icon[PDF – 12 pages]external iconfor the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)external icon. The report provides a 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 these vaccines are safe and that serious adverse events are quite rare. The IOM has conducted two similar extensive reviews in the past. The last one was published in 1994.