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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reactions to the IOM Report

An analysis from the Institute of Medicine has met with fairly predictable reactions.

The New York Times reports:

“The M.M.R. vaccine doesn’t cause autism, and the evidence is overwhelming that it doesn’t,” Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton, the chairwoman of the panel, assembled by the Institute of Medicine, said in an interview. She was referring to a combination against measles, mumps and rubella that has long been a focus of concern from some parents’ groups.

Sallie Bernard, president of SafeMinds, a group that contends there is a link between vaccines and autism, said the latest report from the Institute of Medicine excluded important research and found in many cases that not enough research had been done to answer important questions.

“I think this report says that the science is inadequate, and yet we’re giving more and more vaccines to our kids, and we really don’t know what their safety profile is,” Ms. Bernard said. “I think that’s alarming.”

Dr. Clayton said: “We looked at more than a thousand peer-reviewed articles, and we didn’t see many adverse effects caused by vaccines. That’s pretty remarkable.”

The Orange County Register reports:

Despite the report, which comes on the heels of the downfall of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his research, proponents of an autism-vaccine link claim there's still insufficient science to absolve vaccines.

"The IOM report took two years to produce, mostly behind closed doors, and was paid for by the Department of Health and Human Services, the government agency which is also a defendant against the vaccine-injured in the government's vaccine court," reads the website of the group Age of Autism. "Due to a narrow set of objectives defined for the IOM by the government, the report only looked at a small set of published research studies linking just two vaccines to developmental disorders such as autism."

The IOM report doesn't sidestep the issue of side effects that can result from vaccines. "Though generally very rare or minor, there are side effects, or 'adverse effects,' associated with some vaccines," the report acknowledges. "Importantly, some adverse events following a vaccine may be due to coincidence and are not caused by the vaccine.