Individual Susceptibility to Vaccine Reactions

In 2012, the IOM published a report, Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality, 32 and acknowledged there are genetic, biological and environmental high risk factors not yet identified that can increase “individual susceptibility” to vaccine reactions but most of the time doctors cannot predict who is at risk:

“Both epidemiologic and mechanistic research suggests that most individuals who experience an adverse reaction to vaccines have a pre-existing susceptibility. These predispositions can exist for a number of reasons – genetic variants (in human or microbiome DNA), environmental exposures, behaviors, intervening illness or developmental stage, to name just a few, all of which can interact. Some of these adverse reactions are specific to the particular vaccine, while others may not be. Some of these predispositions may be detectable prior to the administration of vaccine; others, at least with current technology and practice, are not.” – Institute of Medicine 33 

Gaps in Knowledge About Individual Risks

In 2013, the IOM published another report, The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies, 34 which studied the scientific evidence regarding the safety of the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule for children from birth to age six. The IOM committee evaluating the evidence stated that there are significant gaps in scientific knowledge about children, who are biologically at higher risk for suffering vaccine injury and death:

“ The committee found that evidence assessing outcomes in subpopulations of children, who may be potentially susceptible to adverse reactions to vaccines (such as children with a family history of autoimmune disease or allergies or children born prematurely), was limited and is characterized by uncertainty about the definition of populations of interest and definitions of exposures or outcomes.” – Institute of Medicine 35 

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