March 1996

Adverse Events Associated With Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality

Author Affiliations

College of Medicine Tampa, FL 33612


edited by Kathleen R. Stratton, Cynthia J. Howe, Richard B. Johnston, Jr, 464 pp, $49.95, ISBN 0-309-04895-8, Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 1994.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(3):334. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170280104029

This volume attempts to answer many of the questions asked by pediatricians, as well as their patients, about immunization practices. A very simple statement of fact begins the report:

Childhood immunization has been one of the foremost public health measures of the twentieth century. It has allowed control and prevention of many diseases from which morbidity and mortality can be staggering.

The next paragraph introduces the issue, "The public policy debate regarding immunization stretches beyond the question of how to meet the goals of universal immunization," to the question of safety of pertussis vaccine and other vaccines, the media publicity attendant on the concerns, and the many groups of "interested citizens."

The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act established the compensation program and the reporting system and also required the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences to study the adverse effects via two specific studies: the

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