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Institute of Medicine report details for monitoring safety of childhood immunization schedule
Date:1/16/2013

tive schedules as well as any diagnoses, medical procedures and outcomes they have experienced. VSD also contains data on race, age, gender and other factors that help researchers do better comparisons and account for factors that might affect participants' health. Already a research team has tapped VSD to explore patterns among children in the Kaiser Permanente Colorado system who are defined as under-vaccinated.

However, VSD tracks people from only eight states and looks at a smaller percentage of low-income and minority people than is in the U.S. population as a whole. Moreover, VSD's usefulness depends on the continuing involvement of participating health plans. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its partners should maintain their commitment to funding VSD and consider bringing in additional health plan members to enhance the data and make it more representative of the full U.S. population, the report states.

Some critics of immunization policies have called for studies comparing health outcomes among vaccinated and unvaccinated children and for research to determine if subgroups exist that are predisposed to experiencing harmful health effects from the vaccines.

Although randomized controlled trials are the gold standard for clinical research, such a trial cannot be safely and efficiently performed to compare health outcomes among vaccinated and unvaccinated or differently immunized children, the committee concluded. Among other reasons, children placed in the study group that does not receive vaccines in a timely fashion would be exposed to greater risk for contracting illnesses. Many parents who refuse immunization may object to their children being randomly assigned to the group that gets vaccines.

Some people have suggested comparing vaccinated children with children in "naturally occurring" populations of unimmunized individuals, such as certain religious communities. With less than 1 percent of the American populatio
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Contact: Jim Erickson
ericksn@umich.edu
734-647-1842
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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