Studies Provide Evidence of Vaccine Safety And Efficacy
Oct 11, 2013

There are a lot of reasons why I love vaccines, but most importantly it’s because they save lives.  However, my appreciation of vaccines has also helped to elevate my appreciation of science.  This week has been another perfect example.  News coverage of several recent studies out this week help to illustrate the benefit of vaccines and provide further evidence of their efficacy.
Reduction in Pneumococcal Disease
At a IDWeek conference meeting earlier this week, researchers presented preliminary data and conclusions from a soon-to-be published study regarding the efficacy of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.   MedPage Today covered the conference and reported that rapid uptake of the vaccine led to substantial reductions in invasive and noninvasive pneumococcus-related outcomes across all age groups after only 2 years.  Vaccination was tied to a 59% reduction in invasive pneumococcal disease-related hospitalizations in children younger than 5 years old, and a 25% reduction in related hospitalizations in adults.
The FDA approved the 13-valent version of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for use in pediatric patients 6 months to 5 years old back in 2010.  The new vaccine replaced a seven-valent version of the vaccine by adding protection against six additional strains of bacteria which accounted for 62% of cases of invasive pneumococcal disease not covered by the previous vaccine.
The study pointed to the “substantial herd immunity that was achieved,” by pointing to the 90% reduction of total invasive pneumococcal disease that occurred in older children and adults who were not immunized.  In other words, community immunity is even helping to protect those who are not vaccinated.

Image of unvaccinated child with varicella lesions in various stages.  (Photo courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics)

Image of unvaccinated child with varicella lesions in various stages. (Photo courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics)

Dramatic Decline in Incidence of Chicken Pox
Another development we’ve seen in regards to vaccine efficacy relates to the implementation of a two-dose varicella vaccination program which began in 2006.  According to study findings published in Pediatrics this week, the incidence of varicella (also know as chicken pox) has decreased across all age groups since the double dose vaccination program took effect.  Additionally, hospitalizations have declined by more than 40% during 2006 to 2010 compared with 2002 to 2005, and more than 85% compared with 1995 to 1998.  
Researchers suggested that high levels of immunity in the population have contributed to an overall decline of varicella disease observed in infants are who are not eligible for varicella vaccination, adults with low vaccination levels and immunocompromised individuals who are medically unable to receive this vaccine.  Once again, community immunity is in play.
No Serious Adverse Effects Linked to HPV Vaccine
News Medical reported on the safety of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine after researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden released the details of their recent study in BMJ.  Researchers used patient data registries to monitor almost a million Swedish and Danish girls born between 1988 and 2000, and compared roughly 300,000 girls who had been HPV vaccinated with 700,000 who had not.  The researchers then used the data to study the incidence of any serious adverse effects of the vaccine, to include 53 different diagnoses requiring hospital or specialist care, including blood clots, neurological diseases, and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. They found that none of these diseases were more common in the vaccinated girls relative to their unvaccinated peers.

Researchers concluded that “this population based cohort analysis provides strong evidence that autoimmune conditions, neurological diseases, and thromboembolic disease are not triggered by quadrivalent HPV vaccination”.

Too often, critics claim that vaccines are not well tested and that studies of safety and efficacy do not exist.  These dangerously inaccurate statements can easily be refuted with references to studies like those detailed above.

Since the average person may not have the time or inclination to follow immunization news as closely as we do here on Shot of Prevention, we will continue to highlight important studies in blog posts, in Facebook status updates, or through our @ShotofPrev Twitter feed.  Please “Like” our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to this blog so that you can stay informed about the scientific studies that pertain to our ongoing investigation of our current immunization policies and practices.

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17 responses to “Studies Provide Evidence of Vaccine Safety And Efficacy”

  1. Lawrence says:

    Excellent post & great resource for real vaccine information.

  2. reissd says:

    Thank you, very informative.

  3. Yamen Booloogi says:

    Wow, what a shocking picture of chicken pox lesions! Can we see an updated photo of what the patient looks like now he’s well again? My daughter had the disease for two weeks, but in her case, at least, there wasn’t a trace of them a month later. Is this a new and more disfiguring strain of chicken pox?

  4. Lawrence says:

    @Yamen – it is hit or miss, unfortunately. Some infected do get significant scaring, while others are lucky and have few, if any.
    Do you really think it would be worth taking the chance? I’d have rather gotten the vaccine than spent two and a half weeks of misery as a child (with a good chance of shingles down the road).

  5. Chris says:

    I still have a couple of pox depressions on my face from getting chicken pox almost fifty years ago. I am sorry that your poor daughter had to go through two weeks of itchy open sores. That is unfortunate.
    Unfortunately my kids got chicken pox a year before the vaccine was available. It was a horrible month, especially since one was only six months old.

  6. Jaime says:

    Well well well…..Vaccaines are deadly!!!! Injecting poison in your body…Answer this someone please. Does immunization weaking your natural immun system? What is the purpose of our natural immun system?

  7. Lawrence says:

    @Jaime – #1 Vaccinations prime your natural immune system so you don’t have to suffer the full blown disease, should you come in contact with it (your immune system can do nothing more than fight a disease, if it has not been exposed to it in the past – meaning your going to suffer, unless you get vaccinated).
    #2 Vaccines are not dangerous. There are known side-effects to vaccines, the vast majority of which are as simple as soreness at the injection side or a mid-grade fever. Any serious side-effects are incredibly rare.
    #3 Immunization improves your immune system by exposing it to a very small number of antigens which allows your body to develop full-blown immunity to a disease without having to suffer the disease itself.
    #4 Our natural immune system is fantastic (which is why we are still alive as a species), but you would still have to suffer through the natural course of disease (with the much higher likelihood of permanent disability or death) to gain immunity that way. This is why vaccines are much more preferable, because they are safer and more effective.
    Again, I refer to this series of studies:

  8. Jaime says:

    Thank you for replying Lawrence…We have a natural immune system to fight off diseases and affections. This system was created by GOD the creator of the human body. Man comes along and always think of some way to outdo GOD. GOD made the body and there is NO MAN that knows the works of the body like the creator. That being said if I get sick GOD can heal my body without any side effects. If it’s GODS will. If it’s your time to go there is NOTHING man can do to keep you here.

  9. Jaime says:

    one correction…..MAN trys to outdo GOD

  10. novalox says:

    So, would you think that your god also allowed the presence of diseases that have existed for thousands of years, which have killed, maimed, and disabled millions of people over the years?
    Because if that is so, your god is not one I would want to worship.
    I would think that any deity would give us the ability to think and create ways to combat these diseases, and would hope that us as humans would be able to use these abilities to prevent these diseases from hurting or harming us.

  11. Lawrence says:

    Your “God” did a piss-poor job designing the human body…..
    You remind me of the biblical story about the drowning man praying for God to help him…you should read it sometime.

  12. Chris says:

    Jaime: “This system was created by GOD the creator of the human body.”
    Citation needed. Please tell us if this immune system was designed so well, what updates were downloaded to have the incidence of measles plummet 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970? See the following census data:
    Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
    1912 . . . 310.0
    1920 . . . 480.5
    1925 . . . 194.3
    1930 . . . 340.8
    1935 . . . 584.6
    1940 . . . 220.7
    1945 . . . 110.2
    1950 . . . 210.1
    1955 . . . 337.9
    1960 . . . 245.4
    1965 . . . 135.1
    1970 . . . . 23.2
    1975 . . . . 11.3
    1980 . . . . . 5.9
    1985 . . . . . 1.2
    1990 . . . . .11.2
    1991 . . . . . .3.8
    1992 . . . . . .0.9
    1993 . . . . . .0.1
    1994 . . . . . .0.4
    1995 . . . . . .0.1
    1996 . . . . . .0.2
    1997 . . . . . . 0.1

  13. Chris says:

    Jaime, you might be interested in this book when it comes out next week: In the Name of God.

  14. dingo199 says:

    Chris :
    Jaime, you might be interested in this book when it comes out next week: In the Name of God.

    Fascinating reading – I will get it when it’s out!

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