Vaccines not linked to health complications like type 1 diabetes, study finds

In recent years, some evidence suggested that childhood vaccines increase a young person's risk of developing diseases like type 1 diabetes and autism. This touched off a wave of concern from parents, some of whom chose to stop getting their children inoculated against certain diseases.

However, a new study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Medicine indicates that there is little basis to support these claims, as common childhood vaccinations rarely cause any health complications. Furthermore, when a problem can be traced back to a vaccine, it is usually rather minor and nowhere near as serious at type 1 diabetes.

For the study, the researchers examined the findings of more than 1,000 previously published studies on the effects of common childhood vaccines against conditions like MMR, hepatitis B, influenza, tetanus, meningococcal and varicella.

The results showed that there is virtually no actual evidence connecting these vaccinations to autism or type 1 diabetes. Some studies did find that they may be associated with fainting, brain swelling, temporary joint pain and allergic reactions, but even these minor health complications were few and far between.

The researchers said their findings show that parents should not worry excessively about their child's risk of health complications stemming from vaccines. This is particularly important right now, as children across the country are getting set to return to school, which frequently requires certain inoculations.

"The findings should be reassuring to parents that few health problems are clearly connected to immunizations, and these effects occur relatively rarely. And repeated study has made clear that some health problems are not caused by vaccines," said Ellen Wright Clayton, the researcher who led the study.

Results from the study could be used to help direct future policy decisions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.