Suggested Citation: "INTRODUCTION." Institute of Medicine. Vaccine Safety Forum: Summaries of Two Workshops. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1997.

Researchers are currently conducting studies aimed at assessing which populations are at risk for certain adverse events, including determining the allergies that make people prone to anaphylactic reactions following vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella, identifying the neurologic impairments that may make infants more prone to convulsions following vaccination with DPT, assessing premature infants' responses to vaccines, and determining the underlying cause for the increased mortality observed in some populations of girls given high-titer measles vaccine.

A number of questions remain unanswered regarding risks for adverse events following vaccination and ways to lower such risks. Several speakers suggested research avenues that might prove fruitful in this regard, including studies that assess the risk of adverse events after vaccination in specific genetic populations; on a molecular biology level, the impact over time of multiple vaccinations; whether there is a link between learning disabilities and vaccination; whether autistic children have different immune responses than nonautistic children; whether health care workers vaccinated with the hepatitis B virus vaccine (HBV) experience more autoimmune disorders; and whether the antigens in vaccines are likely to cause demyelinating disorders. Although several forum members and other workshop participants voiced concern that some of these studies would be difficult to design or impractical to conduct, the information that they would provide, if the studies are successfully carried out, might be valuable in determining risks for adverse events following vaccination.


As discussed at the workshop, a number of immunologic and genetic variables are likely to foster diverse responses to vaccines. Because vaccines work through their effects on the human immune system, some scientists who study vaccine adverse effects have concentrated on allergic reactions or autoimmune processes as potential causes of adverse effects. Reflecting these ideas, the first session of the workshop addressed research on immune responses to vaccine antigens. If adverse reactions to vaccines are autoimmune reactions, as discussed in the previous section, then susceptibility to adverse events after vaccination might depend in part on an inherited or genetic susceptibility to such reactions. If so, the study of such disorders might provide insight into genetic susceptibility and expression. Reflecting these issues, the second session of the workshop addressed genetic variability in immune factors, and the interaction of these factors with environmental agents.

Certain populations may be more susceptible to adverse events following vaccination because of some of these variables. The third section of the report

Suggested Citation: "INTRODUCTION." Institute of Medicine. Vaccine Safety Forum: Summaries of Two Workshops. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1997.
Page 30
Vaccine Safety Forum: Summaries of Two Workshops Get This Book
Buy Paperback | $34.75
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

On November 6, 1995, the Institute of Medicine's Vaccine Safety Forum convened a workshop on detecting and responding to adverse events following vaccination. Workshop speakers and participants discussed the difficulties in detecting adverse events, current adverse events detection and response methods and procedures, suggestions for improving the means of detecting and responding to adverse events following vaccination, and future areas of research. This document represents a summary of that workshop.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
  10. ×

    And that's about it! What do you think of the new OpenBook? Click the Feedback button and tell us. Happy reading!

    « Back Done