Dr. James R. Shannon, former Director of the US National Institute of Health, has been widely quoted as saying: “The only safe vaccine is one that is never used.”
But are adverse vaccine reactions really a big deal? Aren’t they just the “fever and fatigue” we’re warned about after yearly shots? Or is there more to learn?
And aren’t moderate and severe adverse reactions rare? Let’s answer this question first.
Reactions are considered rare, in part, because reporting is rare. Unlike reporting for human vaccine reactions, required by the National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, reporting is voluntary for reactions experienced by animals. Furthermore, there is no federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for animals as there is for humans, nor is there a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). That does not mean that adverse events aren’t a serious a problem for animals. In fact, because animals are given numerous vaccines repeatedly (and unnecessarily) throughout their lives, rather than just in childhood, the problem is likely worse.
WSAVA Vaccination Group Guidelines (p. 18) recognizes that there is “gross under-reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events which impedes knowledge of the ongoing safety of these products.” AAHA (p. 19) says, “Although AE [adverse event] documentation in veterinary medicine is limited, severe adverse reactions are considered uncommon.” But if reporting is rare, how do they know?
Perhaps the biggest problem in underreporting is the failure to match an illness or problem to a vaccine. Read more »