November, 2012: Vaccines with High VAERS Rates

In my July, 2011 blog, I described a feature in MedAlerts that adjusts results according to the number of doses of the vaccine that were given (recall that this information is sketchy and incomplete, so analyses that use the data are not as accurate as they should be). This month, I will look at this data to see if anything interesting can be found.

The vaccines that have dosage patterns fall into three distinct categories:

  • Short-lived vaccines were given for a few years and then discontinued. They were typicially removed because of adverse effects, and the VAERS data often shows this.
  • Phased-out vaccines were given for many years, but discontinued in favor of other vaccines (for example, Measles has been phased out as MMR has become established).
  • Current vaccines are still being given.

Let’s look at two important measures of the safety of a vaccine: (1) the VAERS events considered “serious” (hospitalization, permanent-disability, life-threatening, or death) and (2) the VAERS events where the patient died.

A number of short-lived vaccines feature prominently in these graph, including ANTH (Anthrax, which may not actually have been phased-out, but dosage data is no longer available), LYME, MU (Mumps) and RV (Rotavirus). The graphs bear-out the government and/or industry’s decision to withdraw the vaccines.

Some phased-out vaccines also feature prominently, notably MEA (Measles) and DTP (being switched-over to DTAP and other combination vaccines). We can be thankful that these are gone and hope that their replacements are safer.

One current vaccine bears notice: RAB (Rabies). It is associated with many serious VAERS events and a very high rate of deaths.

These conclusions are tabulated below:

Vaccine Rate of Serious Rate of Death Dosage Pattern
ANTH (Anthrax) Very High Very High Short-lived: 1998 to 2001
DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) Medium High Phased-out: ended in 2001
LYME Very High High Short-lived: 1999 to 2001
MEA (Measles) Low High Phased-out: ended in 2008
MU (Mumps) High Very High Short-lived: 2003 to 2008
RAB (Rabies) High Very High Current
RV (Rotavirus) Very High Very High Short-lived: 1999

If you are considering a Rabies vaccination, it would be reasonable to discuss it with your doctor and be sure that you really need it.