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Health Agencies Update
November 26, 2003

No Flu Vaccine–MS Link

JAMA. 2003;290(20):2655. doi:10.1001/jama.290.20.2655-a

Available evidence suggests that influenza vaccines do not trigger relapses of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report.

The report cautioned that current findings are inadequate to determine whether the vaccines play a causal role in the onset of MS. The committee said "there is weak evidence for biological mechanisms related to immune-mediated processes" by which influenza vaccines might act to trigger neurological diseases. However, committee chair Marie McCormick, of the Harvard School of Public Health, emphasized that because flu vaccines are so widely administered, the possible connection between neurological disorders and the vaccines should be given serious consideration.