Among the factors considered: number of vaccines, frequency and order of administration, spacing between doses, cumulative doses, age of recipient and any relationship on autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, asthma and allergies, seizures and development disorders including autism, said committee member Dr. Alfred Berg, a professor of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
Although the committee found the vaccine schedule did not appear to do any harm, it did point out areas for improvement.
While current systems designed to detect any safety problems are good, they could be expanded, the committee stated. And there are further areas for research, such as identifying any populations who may potentially be susceptible to harm from vaccines, said Dr. Pauline Thomas, another committee member and an associate professor of preventive medicine and community health at New Jersey Medical School in Newark.
And the National Vaccine Program Office, which coordinates the various federal agencies involved in immunization activities, should "systematically collect and assess information about stakeholder [such as parents'] concerns," said Berg.
Loe Fisher said the NVIC supported the call for more investigation into the issue of public confidence in the childhood vaccination schedule.
But the NVIC did not agree with the committee's recommendations that prospective trials are not useful for examining vaccination safety. Instead, it called for more research using existing databases, she said.
Learn more about the report at the Institute of Medicine.
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