Reuters News Service


Adverse Immune Effects of Vaccination Refuted

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) Nov 30 - New findings from a study of nearly 500 children demonstrate that early immunization with a combination vaccine has positive effects on general immune function, rather than negative effects, as has been suggested.

While the effectiveness of vaccination programs is well-established, there remains some scientific controversy regarding the possible negative effects of vaccination on immune function in children. To address this issue, Dr. S. Otto, of Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universitat Greifswald, in Germany, and colleagues compared the rates of infectious disease-associated symptoms in vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

Specifically, the investigators randomized 496 children to either simultaneous vaccination against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, haemophilus influenza B and poliomyelitis or no vaccination. The rates of infectious disease-associated symptoms in these patients were measured using a daily symptom diary kept by mothers.

Vaccination did not increase the prevalence of infectious disease-associated symptoms in the children, according to the data. In fact, these symptoms (vomiting, coughing, rhinitis, restlessness, rash and pain) were significantly reduced in the vaccinated children compared with the unvaccinated group.

"We therefore assume an increased preparedness of the unspecific immune system after vaccination," Dr. Otto's group write, rather than increased morbidity. They speculate that this enhancement may be associated, in part, with a vaccine-related increase in several cytokines, including interferon and interleukin 2, as has been demonstrated in prior experiments.

J Infect 2000;41:172-175.

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