While in today’s world there are vaccines for a variety of medical illnesses, it was not always this way. In fact, only a few decades ago, many diseases that can now be limited or prevented with a vaccine killed thousands of people each year. Whether it was measles, polio, diphtheria, smallpox, chickenpox, or influenza, many patients young and old succumbed to these diseases. Fortunately, as vaccines have been developed, the number of fatalities from these and other diseases has dropped dramatically. However, since many vaccines lend themselves to certain side effects, people tend to view vaccines as sometimes more dangerous than the diseases they are designed to prevent. As a result, more and more people want to know if people in the United States actually die from vaccines.
Deadly Vaccine Reactions
According to the World Health Organization, while no vaccine is 100 percent safe for everyone, it is generally rare for a person to die from a vaccine reaction. However, it can and does happen. For example, according to statistics from the National Vaccine Information Center, the vaccine for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella has been known to cause serious adverse reactions and even deaths, particularly in children younger than three years old. Though some side effects such as low-grade fever, itching, and reddening skin are often common, adverse reactions also occur. Some of the most common adverse reactions include anaphylaxis, cardiomyopathy, convulsions, and encephalitis.
[icon type=”icon-lamp”]DID YOU KNOW: Sadaka Associates secured a ground breaking decision linking Gardasil to the development of arrhythmia leading to the death of a 21-year-old woman. Read the decision here.
Deaths and Hospitalizations
Through March 2018, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System contained over 89,000 reports of vaccine reactions, injuries, hospitalizations, and deaths from the MMR vaccine alone. Of those reports, which span decades, 445 deaths were attributed to reactions linked to the vaccine, with 60 percent of the deaths involving children less than three years of age. While nearly 450 deaths sounds like a large number, which it certainly is, statistically the number is quite small, especially when compared to the number of reports made to VAERS. In fact, the number of deaths attributed to vaccine reactions totals less than one-half of one percent. Because of this, scientists and researchers conclude the MMR vaccine, as well as most others, are considered “very safe” for the vast majority of the United States population.
DTP and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
In another study conducted by the World Health Organization nearly 30 years ago, researchers attempted to find out if there was a link between children receiving the Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP) vaccine and then dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, better known as SIDS. In this study, controlled studies allowed researchers to conclude that whether children received the DTP vaccine or did not, there did not appear to be an increase in SIDS cases, nor did there appear to be a causal relation between SIDS and the DTP vaccine. However, even as the data over the years has supported these findings, there have also been reports of severe reactions occurring in many children, including comas, brain damage, seizures, and deaths. Therefore, even if there is no established link between the DTP vaccine and SIDS, there are still occasional deaths reported due to severe reactions from the vaccine.
While most researchers and doctors agree that any patient receiving a vaccine has a basic risk for developing conditions associated with various vaccines, the risk of not getting vaccinated is much greater than getting vaccinated. However, those who have been affected or know someone who has suffered serious injury or even death from a vaccine argue otherwise. For example, the CDC reported over 80,000 flu deaths in 2018, and deaths were also attributed to measles, rotavirus, meningitis, and rubella. Ultimately, it boils down to an individual decision, or one made by a parent in the best interest of their child.
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